FOR the tenth year the town is welcoming one of the world’s most gruelling challenges.

Ironman UK returns to Bolton tomorrow as competitors swim, cycle and run their way to victory. Around 160 people from Bolton are believed to be taking part this year.

As usual a number of road closures are in place for the athletes as they take part in the cycling and running sections.

The cycling route had to be changed at short notice because of the Winter Hill moor fire. Athletes were disappointed the route had been reduced from 112 miles to 95 miles.

Ironman UK Race Director, Sam Brawn said: “We have been working closely with our council partners, local authorities and emergency services and are grateful for their continued support in helping us put on the best possible race for our athletes in difficult circumstances.

“We understand the disappointment and are working hard to once again deliver the great experience that so many have come to enjoy in Bolton.”

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism, and Sport, Cllr John Byrne, added: “Ironman is one of the world’s toughest events and we understand athletes’ upset about the shortened bike course but these really are exceptional circumstances.

“The safety of athletes and the public has to come first and we are now focused on working alongside Ironman to deliver another fantastic event.

“Bolton residents love the amazing spectacle of Ironman and I would also like to wish everyone competing the best of luck — it is a huge feat and I’m looking forward to cheering everybody on.”

Road closures are in place around the town for Ironman UK and in the surrounding area.

There will be road closures on Chorley New Road throughout the day and it will be closed eastbound (into town) between Crown Lane and Beaumont Road until 5.30pm.

From Beaumont Road into the town centre it will be closed until midnight. A crossing point for cars bisects the cycle route on Chorley New Road at Beaumont Road but drivers are advised there will be delays.

Many roads around Queens Park will also be closed as it has become the transition point for athletes moving from two wheels to two legs.

Le Mans Crescent and Howell Croft North will be shut all weekend for the race finish which is in Victoria Square.

Full details of the road closures can be found at the Ironman UK website online.