With Burnden Road Runners’ expansion into triathlon, it was little surprise there was a heavy club presence at Bolton’s ultimate challenge last weekend - the Ironman 70.3, little sister to the full distance, which took place in 2023.

Organised by the World Triathlon Corporation and with Bolton’s plethora of hills, the half Ironman still packs an impressive punch and was an epic test of endurance for Burnden’s Tri-team.

Seventeen Burnden members embarked on the new Bolton 70.3 Ironman event which included one relay team. This was made up of six experienced athletes and 11 members who had never experienced this type of event.

The middle-distance triathlon event kicked off with a 1.2-mile open-water swim at Pennington Flash with the water temperature 19 degrees celsius. This was followed by a 56-mile cycle, taking in a double loop around Leigh and Wigan followed by a double lap of Chorley New Road in Bolton, with two climbs of Old Kiln Lane to spice things up.

The final part was a half-marathon around the streets of Bolton to finish on the iconic red carpet in the centre of the town.

All athletes did the club and Bolton proud - Matt Dewhurst the first home for BRR in an incredible overall time of 4hrs 34mins, claiming 32nd position out of 1,509 athletes. His times for the three elements were: swim - 27:00, bike - 2:28:00, run - 1:33:00.

First Burnden lady home was Francesca Caine in 7:00:00 (swim 45:00, bike 3:39:00, run 2:13:00).

Other results: Danny Glynn 5:02:00 (swim 31:00, bike 2:39:00, run 1:43:00), Lyall Mew 5:37:00 (swim 42:00, bike 2:56:00, run 1:46:00), Martin Fielding 5:47:00 (swim 43:00, bike 3:00:00, run 1:54:00), Mike Caine 5:57:00 (swim 38:00, bike 3:09:00, run 1:57:00), Steve Horsman 6:03:00 (swim 47:00, bike 3:02:00, run 2:01:00), Tim Taylor 6:21:00 (swim 39:00, bike 3:10:00, run 2:17:00), Martin Cullen 6:45:00 (swim 42:00. bike 3:27:00, run 2:19:00), Burnden Tri Trio Relay (Alyson Cullen/ Andy Berry/ Gillian McGowan) 6:48:00 (swim 49:00, bike 2:57:00, run 2:54:00), Steve Riddle 7:17:00 (swim 31:00, bike 3:40:00, run 2:38:00), Simon Entwistle 7:49:00 (swim 47:00, bike 3:54:00, run 2:43:00), Todd Cameron 7:49:00 (swim 52:00, bike 3:35:00, run 3:06:00), Sarah Woodiwiss 7:58:00 (swim 44:00, bike 3:57:00, run 2:55:00), Josh Palmer 8:10:00 (swim 1:00:00, bike 3:54:00, run 3:03:00), Diane Smith *:32:00 (swim 57:00, bike 4:17:00, run 3:04:00).

Ironman’s slightly kinder challenge, the Night Run, was under way on the Friday before the big event with almost 1,000 runners waiting to set off in waves on Le Mans Crescent.

Two offers - a 5K and a 10K - take runners around and out of Bolton town centre and into Queens Park before looping back around and on to the red carpet for a true Ironman finish.

Mark Whittington was first Burndener and took fourth overall position in the 5K table as he finished in 18:37. First Burnden lady for the 5K was Mumtaz Patel, in 21:26, while Louise Righini cracked her 5K PB in 26:10. Nicola Halsall celebrated her 50th birthday by finishing in 28:12.

In the 10K, first Burndener home in fifth overall position was Suleman Badat, in 38:44. First Burnden lady crossing the 10K line was Marie Parkinson, in 49:29.

Other results: 5K - Mark Cannon 21:06, John Simms 21:23, Connor Barrett 22:24, Ivan Brown 23:45, Mark Charlton 24:04, Neil Counsell 24:05, Bernie Jones 24:48, Michelle Carter 26:38, Paul Johnson 26:47, Rachel Norman 27:14, Lisa Berry 27:38, Kathryn Berry 28:19, Megan Lord 29:18, Carol Richardson 29:48, Jennifer Entwistle 30:58, Jordan Hulme 31:22, Jen Forkin 31:47, Anthony Fulop 32:50, Joyce Tyldesley 34:51, Debra Hennessey 35:29, Jeanette Robinson 37:11, Julie Riddle 37:15, Ian Mann 40:13, Gillian McGowan 49:22, Teresa Riley 49:22; 10K - Ravi Patel 41:42, Gareth Doherty 42:19, Martin Whitehead 43:59, Andrew Crawford 44:01, Steven Walton 45:29, David Smith 47:02, Martin Archer 47:48, Vicki Hamer 49:31, Linda Doherty 51:05, Molly Merrick 52:37, Mark Merrick 53:07, Jenni Partington 53:03, Kris Worsley 54:29, Rick Winnard 54:58, Craig Philpot 55:25, Jitendra Patel 58:31, Philip Glassbrook 1:00:44, Joanna Warburton –101:00, Sandra Caine 1:01:45, Luke Newell 1:01:55, Natasha Clarke 1:02:40, Emma Walker 1:05:19, Wendy Larkin 1:07:05, Joanne Eddleston 1:17:06.

Darwen Dashers invited all runners to the moors this week for a decidedly hilly fell race up to Jubilee Tower.

Named for the shortest, but almost vertical, climb, ‘Aggie’s Staircase’ is nevertheless popular with many enjoying the thrill of the downs as well as the slog of the ups.

Reaching heights of 350 metres, the route passes Robin’s Hood cottage, treks up to the Tower, climbs the path to Jacob’s Ladder and descends towards Sunnyhurst. First for Burnden was Mark Whittington, in 38:07, and first lady was Lyndsay Darbyshire, in 48:30.

Other results: Ian Pudge 39:50, Paul Duke 40:34, Andrew Crawford 42:42, Phillip Fryer 42:46, Michael Kermode 43:39, Ed Ashton 43:46, Keith Thomas 46:08, Mark Butler 48:40, Melissa Husbands 50:13, Andy Warburton 53:36, Phillip Morris 53:45, Kathryn Baron 53:48, Marie Parkinson 54:49, Ged Turner 55:49, Steve Holt 56:26, Jocelyn Chadderton 59:28, Carolyn Edwards 1:00:17, Gillian Morris 1:02:00, Jenni Partington 1:07:38, Philip Glassbrook 1:15:44, Anthony Fulop 1:21:30.

Burnden’s Carolyn Edwards has been busy as, along with finishing Aggie’s Staircase, she also conquered the Trawden 7 mile in 1:19:47 - 12 minutes faster than her time in 2023. She also achieved a PB of 50:50 in the recent Sue Ryder Solstice Saunter 5 miler at Bolton Abbey.

Meanwhile, Michael Kermode ticked ‘c’ off his alphabetical list of parkruns as he conquered Chadderton Hall in 23:38. He completed his 40th parkrun, finishing second overall.