The 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon will return to Bolton on Sunday, July 31 with a new run route.
The race, which is supported by Bolton Council and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) attracts competitors from all over the world, and more than 1,500 athletes are set to descend on the town.
Now in its third year in Bolton, the race will involve a 2.4-mile swim in Pennington Flash, in Leigh, followed by a 112-mile bike ride in and around Lancashire. The final leg of the course, a 26.2-mile marathon, will take place in the streets of Bolton finishing in the town centre outside the Town Hall.
In an effort to make the course much more spectator friendly, the athletes will race a shorter loop than in previous years to cover the 26.2-mile course, with a large majority of the course taking place on a three-mile loop that includes Le Mans Crescent and Chorley New Road.
This new run course will keep the athletes closer to the action and should make it easier for spectators to view the race at a number of places along the run course, and still get back for that all important finish.
Kevin Stewart, MD of Ironman Britain and Ireland, said: “Building on the success of last year and the incredible support offered by the people of Bolton, we have looked to maximise this for the benefit of the athlete and spectator. By focusing the run on a small loop than last year we feel that there are excellent supporting opportunities which should give the athletes a great lift.
“Without the support of our partners, an event like this would not be possible. We would like to thank them for all their help in the organisation of the event and in bringing this major international sporting event to the area.”
The swim and transition one, will be located at Pennington Flash in Wigan with registration in the Leigh Sports Village a short walk away. The swim will be a two lap course with a grass based transition on the picnic area next to the golf course. Parking will be available for spectators on race morning at Leigh Sports Village.
The bike course then heads from Wigan, through Bolton in to the stunning Lancashire countryside and takes in some breathtaking views and challenging terrain. The course is virtually the same as 2010, with a slight change to remove a small Hill around Heskin Green.
The athletes will complete three laps before heading to the second transition at Rivington and Blackrod School.
The run course will then head towards Bolton’s town centre and the historic town hall in Victoria Square for the finish line.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “We’re really looking forward to Ironman returning to town and welcoming the athletes and supporters to Bolton. This is the third year we’ve hosted Ironman and it shows just how well Bolton is able to deliver huge sporting events.
“This year the new run route should mean there’s a better atmosphere for the spectators and athletes.
“The event also injected just over £3 million into the local economy last year and hopefully with the new route there will be even more of a boost to local businesses.”
Sheldon Phillips, Head of Regional Major Events at the NWDA, added: “We are delighted to welcome Ironman UK back to Bolton for a third time this year. The revised course will allow a greater number of spectators to discover what the region has to offer, as well as inspiring even more people to get involved in sport ahead of London 2012. The Northwest has a proud sporting history and excellent reputation for hosting successful sporting events and I’m sure this year’s Ironman triathlon will be no different.”
Ironman UK is organised by World Endurance UK and supported by Bolton Council, the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Lancashire County Council, Greater Manchester Police, Lancashire Police, Wigan Council, and Blackburn and Darwen Council.