Ironman UK has introduced an updated bike course giving athletes an exciting new challenge at the iconic Bolton-based race.
The new Ironman UK bike course ushers in the most significant changes since the first race in Bolton 10 years ago.
It will give athletes and spectators more all-round - more locations, more support, more challenges, and more of Bolton.
Ironman UK has earned a reputation for being a challenging race with some of the best spectator support and race atmospheres in Europe.
This year will see a full, three-day festival weekend in Bolton with the addition of the Night Run on Friday, July 12, followed by the world’s biggest Ironkids race on Saturday, July 13 and the main event, Ironman UK on Sunday, July 14.
The Ironman UK triathlon involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride finishing with a marathon into Bolton town centre.
The changes to the bike course are designed to take the course into new communities while still maintaining some of the areas that have become iconic features of the renowned event.
The route retains the initial point to point from Leigh to Horwich and will now take athletes east in a reversal to the previous version of the course.
Athletes will head along Chorley New Road, passing transition located in Queen’s Park, and along the cobbles of Le Mans Crescent, before heading to Bury and Ramsbottom fleeting past the infamous Rake Climb.
From here competitors will continue north towards Helmshore and Blackburn, where athletes will enter the moorlands with views over Darwen’s Jubilee Tower and multiple reservoirs before descending Sheephouse Lane via Belmont, adding a new dimension to an athlete favourite.
After ten years of testing athletes through the Lancashire countryside, the changes will give athletes a fresh challenge while also lessening the impact on residents and businesses.
The new sections will also bring the race into areas previously missed by the course, taking athletes and spectators to new locations providing a welcome boost for tourism and local businesses.
The new course also offers the very best of the natural scenery in the region adding to the true British nature of the course.
Ironman UK has over the past few years undergone various alterations including moving the second transition area from the Macron Stadium to Queen’s Park near the Bolton town centre, moving the finish line back to Victoria Square and bringing the run course into Queen’s Park.
The latest changes will bring more of the race into Bolton making the town centre one of the best and most vibrant spectator areas on the course even before athletes start making their way to the iconic finish line in Victoria Square.
“After ten fantastic years in Bolton we continue to push ourselves to find new ways of improving the race experience for our athletes. We are confident that the new course will provide an intriguing challenge offering a new variation on an iconic event,” said Sam Brawn, Ironman UK Race Director.
“We are also particularly excited to bring the race to new communities and encourage spectators to come out in their numbers and add their voices to the renowned Ironman UK support this year.
"We would like to thank the new council authorities for collaborating with us to make the new course a great experience for our athletes and for their enthusiasm in bringing the event into their communities.”
“Over the last ten years, this race has grown into the premier long-distance triathlon in the UK, welcoming athletes from all over the world and forming part of the Bolton and surrounding communities.
"We look forward to continuing that proud legacy and are excited to be able to extend the spirit of the event to new locations and communities this year,” added Brawn.
Executive Cabinet Member for Culture and Sport, Cllr John Byrne, said: “We’re really pleased to welcome back Ironman UK to Bolton and the wider region after 10 successful years.
“All the athletes from professionals to age groupers are such an inspiration and I know there are many people from Bolton who have taken up the sport after watching their achievements.
“We’ve worked with our partners and Ironman to help them with a new route for 2019 which will become as iconic as the previous courses.
“It retains the testing elements of the local hills that the race has become known for while visiting new areas.
“With more of the route in the town centre it also gives spectators more of a chance to see the competitors on their bikes as well as on the run.”
For more information on the new bike course and to register, please visit www.ironman.com/uk.