One of the UK’s toughest endurance events is coming to Bolton on Sunday, August 2, 2009.
More than 1500 athletes from 35 countries and thousands of spectators are descending on the town for the Ironman UK Triathlon.
The race involves a 2.6-mile swim in Rivington reservoir, a 112-mile bike ride in and around Lancashire, followed by a 26-mile marathon in the streets of Bolton.
Ironman is expected to inject around £4m pounds into the local economy and a global television deal will mean more than a billion people will be watching the gruelling 140-mile event.
For the first time in its history organisers decided to move the event to Bolton due to the town’s transport links and ample hotel accommodation. Previously it was based at Sherborne in Dorset.
The event, which is being funded by the North West Regional Development Agency, is the UK qualifier for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii to be held later in the year.
There will be a number of road restrictions in place for the cycle and run elements, involving roads to the west of Bolton and within the town centre.
Marshals will be present at all major junctions to allow access to the emergency services, residents, businesses and public transport.
However, Ironman strongly recommend that unless you are coming to watch the event, it would be best to avoid restricted roads.
Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council, said: “Bolton is joining the likes of Zurich, Frankfurt and Nice, by hosting the event and our ambition is to bring more large scale international events like this to the town. The triathlon will showcase Bolton and the surrounding area to potential tourists.
“This event is also a great way to encourage sport and I’d urge people to go out and cheer on the athletes, and welcome the competitors, their supporters and spectators who will be coming from all over the world," he added.
Sheldon Phillips, Head of Regional Major Events at the NWDA, added: “Staging Ironman UK is a real coup for both the town and the region and I am delighted we have been able to play our role in brokering a deal between Ironman UK, Bolton Council and the NWDA to ensure that this event can take place here.
“The event will deliver significant economic benefits to Bolton and the region and promote the Northwest on the international stage as an ideal location to stage future world class events.”
Ironman comes to town
The event starts at 6am with an open-water swim in a controlled environment in Rivington Reservoir, before athletes take to the roads for the cycle race. United Utilities warn that unauthorised swimming in reservoirs is not permitted and can be extremely dangerous.
The bike leg involves three 60km loops from the reservoir. Competitors will head across Rivington Moor to Belmont, then through Wheelton and Leyland, before embarking on a loop in the Lancashire countryside to the west of Chorley.
Competitors then head back to Rivington Reservoir, when they swap their bikes for running shoes and head off towards Bolton, with the first athlete expected to start the marathon at around 11.30am.
The runners will follow a route from the reservoir, along Bolton Road and into Chorley New Road near the Crown pub at Horwich. Athletes continue towards Bolton, past Middlebrook and to the Beehive pub, where Chorley New Road will be closed.
Competitors turn right into Regent Road, over the Lostock Railway Bridge and join the Middlebrook footpath. After a loop in Queens Park, they retrace their steps back to the Crown pub at Horwich and then, for the final push, they head towards the town centre.
After leaving Queens Park for the second time, athletes follow a route via Chorley Street, St. Helena Road, Bark Street and Knowsley Street into Oxford Street and finally, cross the finishing line outside the Town Hall, in Victoria Square.
Athletes have 17hrs in which to complete the course and the cream of the crop are expected to cross the finish line from 2pm.
Where to watch
The best places to watch will be Rivington Reservoir for the swim, which usually takes 45 minutes, and Victoria Square for the run. Two 500-seater grandstands will be erected in the Square and live footage of the event will be broadcast on to a screen measuring 46 sqm.
Parking at Rivington Reservoir is limited. For the finish, town centre parking is advised.
Council car parks are free on Sunday and there are no time restrictions. The Octagon multi-storey and Bow Street car parks will be open from 10am on Sunday August 2 until 12:30am on Monday August 3 at a cost of only £1.
Bus services and the Middlebrook Retail Park will be operating as usual.
For more information visit the link on the right-hand side or contact the council on 01204 334321.