This is it! All of you who have entered will of course know what you are about to embark on – good luck. The Ironman events fill up very quickly and you can’t help but wonder if there will be even more new venues next year to keep this global phenomenon growing ever upwards. Not sure I will take the leap anytime soon . We’ll see.
—————- Press Release —————————-
A weekend of IRONMAN racing takes place this weekend with the world’s largest IRONKIDS race on Saturday 18th July followed by the 11th annual IRONMAN UK on Sunday 19th July.
Ahead of the weekend’s racing, organisers have confirmed that the event is here to stay, with Bolton Council committing to host the race for a further 2 years until 2017.
IRONKIDS kicks off the weekend’s racing from 8am to 12.30pm on Saturday 19th July. A sell out 2,500 entries will see kids aged 3 – 14 taking part in this ‘fun run’ in Bolton’s town centre.
On Sunday 19th July, IRONMAN UK will get underway at 6am at Pennington Flash, Wigan for the 2.4 mile swim. With the warm summer conditions the UK has been having the water temperature will be a welcome 20C degrees for the athletes at this early hour.
The athletes will then jump on their bikes and embark on a 112 mile 2 lap cycle course through the rolling Lancashire countryside before heading off on their 26.2 mile run from the Macron Stadium. Music, entertainment and thousands of spectators will be cheering them on all the way to Bolton’s town centre for the finish line.
Over 2,650 athletes, double that of 4 years ago, will be tackling this ultimate endurance event, with an astonishing 51% embarking on an IRONMAN for the first time.
Over 40 countries will be represented, including some of the world’s leading Pros, whilst the majority will be a range of athletes from the age of 18 to 71, each with their own story to tell as to why they’ve entered such a challenge.
The growth of IRONMAN UK is now on a par with its fellow IRONMAN races in Europe and in the process this has been recognised by rewarding the Pros with an increased prize purse of $75,000 (from $25,000 in 2011 – 14).
Whilst the Pro field will be battling it out for the now sizeable prize fund, they will also be looking for qualifying points towards their IRONMAN World Championship Pro rankings.
In the Men’s Pro field UK athletes are set to be in contention include local athlete Joe Skipper, who will be striving to improve on 2014 by just one place for the title against Scotland’s duo Fraser Cartmell and newcomer to long distance racing, David Mcnamee. However a spread of entries from Europe and further afield are certain to be putting the Brits under pressure for the title.
In the Women’s Pro race, 2013 Champion Lucy Gossage returns to regain her title and whilst Jo Carritt and Amy Forshaw will be looking to improve on last year’s performance, they’ll have a tough opposition from Denmark’s Michelle Vestry looking to put her mark on British soil for the first time.
Kevin Stewart, Managing Director Ironman Britain and Ireland commented, “We are very much looking forward to welcoming all the IRONKIDS and IRONMAN athletes and their supporters to Bolton. We could not stage the event without such commitment from the local authorities and we are delighted to be continuing our relationship with Bolton until at least 2017. ”
Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Councillor John Byrne, added: “We’re really excited about Ironkids and Ironman UK returning to Bolton. It’s always a brilliant weekend which gets the whole town buzzing. “This is the seventh year we’ve hosted Ironman, and the fourth Ironkids event and it’s fantastic that both are here to stay until 2017. Our town is fantastic at welcoming all of the competitors and supporters and we’re sure that our residents will come out once again, and get behind the athletes.
“Ironman is the ultimate test of endurance and as someone who just did a mini triathlon in Horwich, I’m full of admiration for all of the competitors. I want to wish them all the best of luck and I will be there at the finish line cheering them on.”
In addition to the weekend’s racing, there will be an IRONMAN Expo at The Macron Stadium, home of Bolton Wanderers, on Thursday 16th, Friday 17th, and Saturday 18th, 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 Le Mans Crescent in Bolton town centre, where the first athlete is expected to finish around 2:30pm.
Whilst there are road closures in place, the Middlebrook retail park will remain open throughout the duration of the race, so access for shoppers will not be affected.