IRONMAN gave Bolton a massive boost as shopping centre bosses revealed the event saw almost an extra 25 per cent increase in people flocking through their doors.

More than 2,000 athletes took part in the gruelling triathlon, cheered on by thousands of people along the route last Sunday.

And the day before, more than 2,200 children took part in Ironkids in the run-up to the main event. The bumper weekend saw footfall at the Market Place shopping centre rise by 23.7 per cent, compared to the same weekend last year, while the national average was down by 0.7 per cent.

Centre manager Nikki Wilson-Cook said: “We had more than 4,000 additional shoppers in the centre on the Saturday compared to the previous year, this is good news all round for our traders and the people of Bolton.”

Registration for the Ironkids event took place at Market Place Shopping Centre in Bolton town centre.

Ms Wilson-Cook added: “It was a delight to welcome Ironkids and Ironman to our centre and town and it was great to see so many people come to Bolton for such a prestigious event in the sporting calendar.”

To coincide with the event that promoted positive lifestyles, the centre hosted hands-on fitness activities such as demonstrations from Virgin Active instructors.

Ironman is worth about £2.5 million to the Bolton economy.

It will return next year with 2,500 places already up for grabs.

Victoria Square was packed with supporters who watched Frenchman Cyril Viennot clinch victory in this year’s Ironman.

The event started at 6am at Pennington Flash where competitors swam 2.4 miles in open water swim, before cycling 112 miles through the Lancashire countryside and finally running a full marathon finishing in Victoria Square.