Are You Fit Enough

An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of races organised by the World Triathlon Corporation.  This utterly gruelling race consists of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by 112 mile bike ride and as if that’s not enough, it’s followed by a 26.2 mile run.  That’s enough to make most of us exhausted at the very thought!

The original idea of an Ironman Triathlon was first hatched during a relay race award ceremony back in 1977 where organisers deduced that cyclists were amongst the most fit type of athletes.  The idea of the 3 part race was born and the winner was said to be called ‘Ironman’ hence the name of the Triathlon.  There are now Ironman races across the world and the UK is no exception.

Here’s Kevin Mackinnon’s run down for Sunday’s Ironman race in Bolton:

The day begins with an early 6 am start at Pennington Flash country Park,Wigan. The athletes then embark on a ride that takes in the stunning Lancashire countryside before finishing off with a run that loops through Bolton before finishing in Bolton town centre. Some 30,000 spectators are expected to line the streets, cheering athletes all the way to the finish line. Adding to the atmosphere and support will be a number of entertainment points with music, dance and activities throughout the course to spur the athletes along.

Halksworth Back to Defend  

The UK’s Daniel Halksworth is back in Bolton to defend the title he won last year, but he’s facing a bunch of British Ironman champs who promise to make his life interesting. 2010 Ironman UK champ Fraser Cartmell finished second last year and would no-doubt love to get back to the top of the podium. Stephen Bayliss hasn’t won the race in Bolton—he won in 2008 when it took place in Sherborne and has finished second twice in Bolton—and hasn’t been in great form to date, but certainly can’t be ruled out as a contender in the relatively small field. Harry Wiltshire made a quick transition to long distance racing last year after he wasn’t picked for the UK Olympic squad, winning his first full-distance race last September. With some more training under his belt he promises to be a factor this weekend. There’s one more former UK champ to add to the list, Scott Neyedli, who no longer races as a full-time pro, but is no stranger to racing at or near the front of big races.

Another Bolton win for Bayliss?

The slim women’s pro field promises to be a two-woman race between Scotland’s Bella Bayliss, a three-time Ironman UK champion, and Lucy Gossage, who manages to split her time between cancer research and life as a professional triathlete.  Bayliss didn’t finish Ironman Lanzarote in May, which means the super-mom (son Charlie turns two on August 5th) arrives in Bolton with slightly fresher legs.

Gossage has some fast races under her belt so far this season, including a third-place finish at Ironman 70.3 Mallorca in May.  Popular British pro Joanna Carritt will be ready to move to the front should either of the pre-race favourites falter on Sunday.

Visit the Ironman UK event page for more information about the course, professional ranking points, prize purse and age group qualifying slots.