Organisers of the Ironman UK triathlon have revealed that it will return to Bolton in 2012.
Bolton was set to host the 140.6 mile event for the last time this year as part of a three year deal.
But Managing Director Kevin Stewart has confirmed it will be back on July 22.
He said: “The relationship we’ve built with all our partners has been brilliant and we’re very grateful for their support. This is an opportunity for us to develop the race and to showcase Bolton to an international audience. Next year we’re looking to build on the atmosphere even more. We also had a great turnout of volunteers and we’d like to thank them for their support.”
Thousands of spectators lined the streets yesterday to watch as more than 1,000 competitors, from more than 30 countries across the world, took on the gruelling challenge.
This year’s race took athletes on a new, improved run route.
The event started with a 2.4-mile swim in Pennington Flash, in Leigh; followed by a 112-mile bike ride in and around Lancashire, with a 26.2-mile marathon in the streets of Bolton, finishing with a heroes’ welcome in the town centre.
The race was won by Aaron Farlow, from Australia. He finished the race with a new course record of 8:24:33 in front of a huge crowd outside Bolton Town Hall.
He said: “It was a great race. Thanks to the organisers and the council and I look forward to coming back next year.”
The fastest woman was Kristin Moeller from Germany, with a time of 9:19:04.
She said: “It was my first Ironman in Bolton and the support from the spectators was amazing.”
The biggest cheer of the day went to soldier Joe Townsend, from East Sussex, who lost both his legs in Afghanistan. He completed the race in 12:56:38.
And this year 48 Boltonians completed the race. The first Boltonian to cross the finish line was Alex Foster with a time of 10:46:38.
Fifty qualifiers from Ironman UK in Bolton will compete in the Ford Ironman World Championship on October 8 in Kona, Hawaii.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “It’s great that so many people have come out to support the athletes and we’re delighted it’s coming back next year. The event brings profile for Bolton and the region and provides a huge boost to local businesses.”