A beautiful town centre park will welcome thousands of Ironman athletes next year.
Ironman UK and Bolton Council has revealed today that the transition and event hub will move from Macron Stadium to Bolton town centre for the race on July 15, 2018.
This means athletes will now cycle along Chorley New Road into Queens Park, Spa Road in Bolton town centre.
The 26.2 mile run will then start at Queens Park and will consist of four laps taking athletes around Bolton town centre before ascending through Queens Park to Chorley New Road.
The course will then pass numerous spectator hotspots along Chorley New Road, where both cyclists and runners will be on the course.
The athletes will descend through Queens Park and return to Bolton town centre, finishing in Victoria Square with Bolton’s historic town hall providing the backdrop.
The event registration, athlete village and finish line will all move to the town centre. The location will be confirmed in the coming months.
The swim remains at Pennington Flash and the 112 mile bike course is largely similar to previous races.
The bike course will continue to feature iconic sections, including the climbs on Sheephouse Lane and Hunter’s Hill, as well as Babylon Lane which has become well known for its Tour de France-style support.
“Having developed Ironman UK in Bolton into one of the most popular events in the UK, we looked at the event setup and how we could improve the athlete experience,” said Sam Brawn, Ironman UK Race Director.
“Moving the second transition area and athlete village near Bolton town centre was a logical decision with athlete logistics in mind, but required intensive planning with Bolton Council to enable the change.
“This allows athletes and their supporters to plan their movements around two major venues, Pennington Flash and Bolton town centre, instead of three as in previous editions of the event. We are confident these changes will provide an improved experience for our athletes and their supporters, from registration, right through to collecting their bikes after the race,” added Brawn.
Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris, said: "Ironman UK has been a tremendous success during its time being held in and around Bolton. Thousands come from all over the world to cheer on the competitors in this most gruelling of challenges.
"We believe that these changes to next year's event will be great for the town centre. It will also make it even more accessible for the public to support the athletes as they move from their bicycles into the marathon run. Queens Park is a beautiful area right in the centre of our town and it is the perfect setting for this stage of the event.
"Next year will be the tenth Ironman in Bolton and we are working with the organisers to make it as good an experience as possible."
Ironman UK moved to Bolton from Sherborne in 2009 and since its move has gained a reputation across Europe as one of the best supported and most challenging races.
Ironman and Bolton Council announced in July that the event will remain in Bolton until 2022.
The tenth race is already 80 per cent full and expected to attract more than 2500 athletes from more than 40 countries.
As part of the Ironman weekend, the world’s biggest Ironkids event takes place in Bolton on July 14, 2018.
For more information on the changes and to enter, please visit the event website, www.ironman.com/uk.