This weekend over 4,250 IRONMAN athletes and IRONKIDS will converge on Bolton for the iconic IRONMAN UK.
A weekend of IRONMAN racing takes place this weekend with the World’s largest IRONKIDS race on Saturday 19th July followed by the 10th annual IRONMAN UK on Sunday 20th July.
IRONKIDS kicks off the weekend’s racing from 8am to 12.30pm on Saturday 19th July in Bolton’s Victoria Square. A record 2,250 places have sold out and will see kids aged 3 – 14 taking part in this ‘fun run’in and around the town centre.
Held in partnership with Bolton Council, IRONKIDS has grown in popularity since its inception in 2012 and offers different distances according to the child’s age, ranging from 500 metres to 2,500 metres, ending under the iconic IRONMAN Finish Arch in Victoria Square. The emphasis on the event is all about encouraging kids to lead an active, healthy lifestyle, whilst experiencing and being part of the action of a World Class event.
On Sunday 20th July, IRONMAN UK will get underway at 6am at Pennington Flash, Wigan. As part of the 10 year celebrations, 3 times IRONMAN World Champion Craig Alexander will be on hand to start the race, inspire and cheer on over 2,000 athletes from around the globe. Attracting some of the world’s leading IRONMAN triathletes, the event also attracts a range of athletes of all ages and abilities each with their own story to tell as to why they’ve entered this ultimate race of endurance.
While the Pro field will be looking for qualifying points towards their Kona Pro rankings as well as battling it out for the $25,000 prize fund, all of the athletes will be completing the same course and hoping to cross the finish line within the 17 hour time limit, and the goal they’ve worked so hard for, to gain the IRONMAN badge of glory.
Consisting of a 2.4 mile swim in Pennington Flash, a 112 mile new and extended 2 lap cycle course through the spectacular Lancashire countryside, the event finishes with a 26.2 mile looped marathon course where lots of organised music and entertainment and some 30,000 supporters are expected to cheer them all the way to the finish line in Bolton town centre.
In the Men’s Pro field, the title is wide open for the taking as defending Champion Dan Halksworth prepares for the Commonwealth Games. IRONMAN Wales Champion Scott Neyedli will be looking to continue his success of 2013 and improve on his 4th place at Bolton last year. Other UK athletes set to be in contention include Paul Hawkins, who has local knowledge in his favour and 2013 bronze placed Joe Skipper. If Mike Aigroz (SUI) and Cyrille Viennot (FRA) race to form, they are certain to be putting the Brits under pressure for the title.
In the Women’s Pro race, 70.3 UK and 2013 IRONMAN UK podium placed athletes Jo Carritt and Amy Forshaw are the firm UK favourites and looking to improve on last year’s performance against foreign athletes, including relatively new comer Katja Konschak (CZ) looking to put her mark on UK soil.
Amongst those entered in this year’s age group field are a range of athletes, from first timers, to serial repeat offenders. For many IRONMAN has become a way of life, a goal to keep them going through Challenges life has thrown at them. All are an inspiration to watch and need all the support and cheering thrown at them to get them to the finish in Bolton’s Victoria Square.
Kevin Stewart, Managing Director Ironman Britain and Ireland commented, “It is very exciting to be celebrating 10 years of IRONMAN UK and we are very much looking forward to welcoming all the IRONKIDS and IRONMAN athletes and their supporters to Bolton. We are continually working hard with the local authorities to improve the event and hope the newly positioned transition at the Macron Stadium and revised bike course will both add to the success and positive experience for each competitor.”
Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Councillor John Byrne, added: “We’re really looking forward to Ironkids and Ironman returning to town and welcoming the competitors and supporters to Bolton. This is the sixth year we’ve hosted Ironman and the third Ironkids event, which shows just how well Bolton is able to deliver huge sporting events. Ironman is a real test of endurance and as someone who recently completed the mini triathlon in Horwich, I really admire these athletes. We hope the people of Bolton will come out once again, and get behind the athletes.”
In addition to the weekend’s racing, there will be an Ironman Expo at The Macron Stadium, home of Bolton Wanderers, on Friday 18th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th July, which is free for the public to attend and a great opportunity to view and buy the latest sports equipment.
The weekend’s events are free for spectators to come and watch. With IRONMAN UK action taking place across Lancashire there are a number of opportunities and venues to view the event including Pennington Flash where the swim will start at 6am, The Macron Stadium/ Middlebrook Retail Park will be live from around 11.30am to 5.30pm and Victoria Square in Bolton town centre, where the first athlete is expected to finish around 2:30pm.