Published: Thursday, 27th Jun 2024

A high-profile women’s fitness team will be among those participating in Sunday’s IRONMAN 70.3 Bolton, as the town’s biggest sporting event sees a 40% increase in female sign-ups. 

Her SpiritHer Spirit are a community of sporty women in leadership roles across Bolton, who joined together to empower one another through sports, fitness, and wild adventures.  

The group’s “She Moves Bolton” campaign, in partnership with Bolton Council and Bolton GP Federation, helps women to be healthier, happier, and more active.  

They will now take on a new challenge as they compete in one of Britain’s toughest races at IRONMAN 70.3 Bolton this weekend.   

The group will be competing as two head-to-head relay teams. 

Team Fearless is led by two-time triathlete world champion, Olympian and triathlon world series commentator, Helen Jenkins MBE and includes ex-BBC presenter Louise Minchin. 

The Team Her Spirit cycling team is led by co-founders Melanie Berry and Holly Woodford. 

Sunday will mark the first time Helen Jenkins has taken part in a triathlon since she retired from pro-racing, and it’s sure to get competitive between the teams.  

She said: “I am so excited to be competing in the IRONMAN 70.3 Bolton as it’s my first time competing as a relay member.  

“I’m looking forward to taking on the bike course and soaking up the atmosphere.  

“I haven’t competed at any triathlons since I retired a few years ago, so this race is going to be special, enjoying all the elements of a triathlon I previously loved - challenging myself and having fun.”  

Melanie Berry, co-founder of Her Spirit said: “Having worked with the team at Bolton Council and Bolton GP Federation over the six months, it’s been so inspiring to see so many women in Bolton getting fitter, stronger and healthier, and moving more for their health.   

“I am looking forward to taking part in the Night Run Bolton UK on Friday with so many other inspirational women and as part of the relay on Sunday.   

“I am doing the swim leg and can't wait to enjoy IRONMAN 70.3 Bolton, and as a team, we also want to wish every woman taking part the best of luck.”  

Over the weekend, the Her Spirit group will be joined by numerous women taking part in both the IRONMAN 70.3 Bolton and Night Run Bolton UK. 

Each competitor is on their own fitness journeys, by either returning-to-fitness walks, or first 5k and 10ks. 

Across the board, this year has also seen a significant uptake in female sign-ups with many believed to be taking part for the first time.   

There is a 40% increase in female participation for the IRONMAN Sunday race alone, with women accounting for nearly a fifth of participants.  

IRONMAN 70.3 Bolton Race Director, Lewis Peacock said: “We can’t wait to be back in Bolton for what promises to be an incredible weekend of racing!

“It’s not long to go until athletes are on the start line at Pennington Flash, ready to begin their race journey to the finish line in central Bolton.

“Bolton will be out in full force to support as they always are.

“It’s set to be a true spectacle!”

Bolton Council’s Director of Adult Services, and Her Spirit member, Rachel Tanner said: “We want everyone in Bolton to be able to improve their fitness in order to have happier and healthier lives.

“But too often, women can face barriers when it comes to getting active and trying new things. 

“That’s why Her Spirit and initiatives like the She Moves Bolton campaign are so important, and I am delighted to see the group take on the challenge of IRONMAN 70.3 Bolton. 

“The increase in female participation this year is really inspiring, and hopefully it will encourage more women in Bolton to start their own fitness journey.” 

The Her Spirit fitness and movement app offers free premium memberships to Bolton women. 

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