Bolton is preparing to greet thousands of athletes, their families and visitors for a three-day Ironman sporting spectacular.
The town is gearing up for its first 5k Night Run tomorrow (July 12); the world’s largest Ironkids race tomorrow (July 13), followed by the Ironman UK triathlon on Sunday (July 14).
A full spectators’ guide is available here.
Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said: “Ironman is always a fantastic weekend and this year will be no exception.
“It is brilliant that this year we have a new race in the mix with Night Run. The addition of the Festival Zone in Bolton town centre will also create a real party atmosphere.
“We are expecting lots of extra people in town in the run up to the weekend, especially as registration for all the events and race briefings is in the Albert Halls.
“Many of our restaurants and shops will be displaying stickers in their windows to show their support and special offers.
“I would urge the people of our wonderful borough to do what they do best – and give all our visitors a proper Bolton welcome!”
Ironman UK Race Director, Sam Brawn, added: “We are set for a great weekend in Bolton.
“There are amazing activities for the entire family. With the addition of the Night Run and the continuation of the largest Ironkids race, there is something for everyone to enjoy throughout the weekend.
“We are also really proud that Ironman UK was selected to be an Ironman Military Division Qualifier and even more exciting, this will be the first year that we will get to crown our very own UK Military Division Champions.”
Night Run Bolton’s first Night Run (on Friday) marks the start of a super three days of sport.
The 5k fun run starts at 7pm and up to 1,000 men and women, aged 16 plus, will run around the town centre on closed roads.
The course starts on Le Mans Crescent, heading through the town centre, and into Queens Park. Runners will then come back to town, finishing in Victoria Square on the same finish line as Ironman UK athletes.
The run will have a festival atmosphere with live music and a bar for runners at the end. If you’ve not signed up already then there’s still time – just turn up on the day with photo id (registration in The Albert Halls closes at 6pm).
Ironkids The world’s largest Ironkids event starts at 9am on Saturday (July 13).
Bolton will see 3,000 budding stars of the future, aged three to 14, compete in the race in and around the town centre.
The sell-out event, being held in Bolton for the 8th time, is incredibly popular with children from across the country taking part.
Ironman UK Bolton welcomes Ironman UK for the 11th time in its 15-year history. And 1,900 athletes aged 17 to 70 will be part of the action.
The Ironman UK triathlon gets underway at 6am, on Sunday, with a 2.4-mile swim at Pennington Flash, before athletes complete a 112-mile bike ride.
For the first time in the history of Ironman, athletes will cycle into Bolton town centre. The new bike course will see athletes cycling along Chorley New Road, passing Queens Park, coming into Bolton town centre, on to Le Mans Crescent before heading to Bury via Folds Road and Tonge Moor Road.
The marathon route will take place in and around Bolton town centre and Queens Park, with the finale on Victoria Square, finishing against the backdrop of Bolton town hall.
For more information about all the sporting events visit the Ironman website.
A packed programme of entertainment has been laid on for the weekend.
New this year is the Festival Zone on Oxford Street - open 6pm to 11pm on Friday, 9am to 5pm on Saturday, and 10am until 9pm on Sunday.
The zone features a live music stage, a bar, food traders and seating, and is open to everyone, not just competitors.
On Saturday, from 8.30am to 5.30pm and Sunday, from 10am to 7pm, go to Deansgate and have a go at free arts and crafts, giant garden games, wrestling, a climbing wall, a running track, and e-sports. Join in a Community Leisure Trust fitness challenge on Saturday.
On Sunday, from 11am to 7pm, in Queens Park, Spa Road, bands and solo artists will be performing on a music stage near the café. Fairground rides and food will also be available.
View the race at the following points on the bike course: Rivington Green (Rivington, bottom of Sheephouse Lane) and Black Dog pub (Belmont).
To watch both cyclists and runners Queens Park (a transition point) is a key spot. Also head down to Chorley New Road, or Le Mans Crescent.
Saturday and Sunday’s events have also been designated “smokefree” as part of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s “Making Smoking History” campaign.
Travel and parking
Park for free for 24 hours (on Saturday and Sunday) at Bolton NCP multi-storey car parks: Topp Way (BL1 2DJ), Octagon (BL1 1TN) and Deane Road (BL3 5DX).
To facilitate all the events, roads will be closed in the town centre, and a number of roads will be closed in and around Bolton, Blackburn and Bury on Ironman UK day.
Marshalls will be present at certain places on the route to allow access for emergency services, businesses and residents.
Shoppers are advised that Middlebrook Retail Park will be open as usual 11am to 5pm - please enter from De Havilland Way past Tesco.
For a full list of all road closures, visit the Ironman UK website. Bolton road closures detailed here.
For more information contact Ironman UK on 0333 011 6600 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.