IRONMAN bursts back into Bolton this weekend and is set to be a record breaker.

Not only is it the first full Ironman weekend since 2019, with three events in three days, but with a record number of children taking part in Ironkids and the biggest ever field of athletes for Ironman, it’s also the largest.

All weekend there will be plenty going on in the town centre to create a special atmosphere for the events.

A family fun zone will keep children happy with face painting, a climbing wall, fairground games, football, a caving bus, arts and crafts and of course ice cream.

A Festival Zone will keep the celebrations going with food, drinks, music, street performers and a bar.

And on Sunday, Queens Park will also host a pop-up music stage with local artists.

The weekend kicks off on Friday with Night Run, a family-friendly 5km race through the streets of the town centre with an epic finish down the Ironman red carpet.

Registrations for Night Run are open until Friday at

The excitement continues on Saturday with the return of the ever-popular Ironkids.

Bolton is home to the largest Ironkids event in the world and this year’s sold-out edition will see over 4,000 children and teens earn their finisher medal under the Ironman gantry.

A wave of athletes from local disabled schools will also be racing in honour of The Rotary Club of Bolton’s centenary year.

On Sunday, it’s the turn of the full-distance Ironman and the gruelling swim, bike and run event is bigger than ever this year, with over 3,000 competitors from 51 countries signed up to race.

Competitors look forward to the fabulous support that Bolton is famous for.

The town centre will come alive all weekend as supporters create a festival atmosphere, especially along the iconic red carpet at the finishing line on Victoria Square.

And on Sunday, Queens Park is perfect for cheering on the athletes as they pass several times on the running course.

Great spectator hotspots along the bike course are Smithills Dean Road, which has a farm, café, family activities, parking and a footpath for safe viewing, and Egerton village with local shops, pubs and restaurants at the foot of a long descent.

Cllr Martyn Cox, leader of Bolton Council, said: “We’re thrilled the Ironman events will be back in Bolton once more this summer.

“These sporting occasions always bring a great sense of fun, excitement and community spirit to our town, and it’s excellent to see athletes of all ages and abilities taking part throughout the weekend.

“With a new cycling route announced to the Ironman UK course this year, there will be an opportunity for more residents to enjoy the spectacle in their local area.

“We look forward to enjoying the races and cheering on the athletes on this weekend of sporting action.”

Dean Smith, Ironman UK race director, said: “We’re excited to be back in Bolton for what will surely be another memorable year of racing.

“The event wouldn’t be possible without the incredible, unwavering support of Bolton Council and the warm welcome we receive from the town year on year.”

To keep athletes safe, temporary road closures will be needed over the weekend, including in the town centre.

On Sunday, there will be temporary road closures for the first time in Smithills, in addition to some amended timings through Heaton, Lostock, the town centre, Tonge Moor and Breightmet. Bradshaw, Bromley Cross and Horwich will see less of the course this year.

Participants of all ages and backgrounds will look to push their limits, as registered athletes span from 18 to 74 years of age and will be travelling from 51 different countries to race in Bolton.

A favourite amongst UK triathletes, entrants from England, Wales, and Scotland will make up 90pc of the field this year - followed by representation from Ireland, the United States, France, and Poland.

The current Ironman UK defending champions are Joe Skipper in the Men’s pro category and Kat Matthews in the Women’s pro category. Kat recently came second at the Ironman World Championships held in St George, Utah on May 7.

For more information about the Ironman weekend, visit

For more information about road closures, visit or email