Q+A: Ironman UK

Get the lowdown on Ironman UK, one of the toughest long-distance triathlons, as it heads to Bolton this weekend

ironman uk bolton

This Sunday heralds the return of one of the UK's most prestigious endurance triathlons; Ironman UK. This is the only officially branded Iron distance event in England. More than 1,500 triathletes will be speeding through Lancashire's countryside as they tick off a tough 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run.

Competition will be fierce for the 50 age group slots for the 2011 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, up for grabs. Returning to Bolton for its third year, the revised route promises a more spectator-friendly circuit as it winds through Bolton town centre. Crowd support of more than 30,000 people is expected.

Will it be shown on TV?

Ironman UK will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 7am on August 21. Set your alarm or press the record button and enjoy catching up with the highlights from the comfort of your sofa. 

Any elites taking part?

Of course! Representing the UK in the men's race we have Nick Saunders, Paul Hawkins, Oliver Simon, Stephen Bayliss (depending on when his pregnant wife Bella, also a triathlete, gives birth) and Toby Radciffe, who has been giving weekly tips in our TW Triathlon Training Newsletter. Yvette Grice and Joanna Caritt will be taking up the mantle for British women. 

Last minute racing tips?

Get the edge on your competitors with racing advice from legendary Chrissie Wellington, three time Ironman World Champion. Discover her mental strategies for racing at your best during the long haul event. Bring along family and friends and arrange in advance where they'll be posted to give you a motivational boost.

Feeling inspired?

If you missed the entry deadline or if we've inspired you to try your hand at next year's event, swot up on our guide to Ironman training and discover why long distance triathlons are soaring in popularity.

Still haven't had your Ironman fix? Look ahead to the racing season's finale at the the World Championshps in Hawaii on October 8, with our course preview.

Seven things you didn't know about Ironman UK 2011...

  • The oldest athlete taking part is 71-year-old George Duffy from Canada
  • The youngest athlete is 18-year-old Niku Philon from Scotland
  • 34 nationalities make up the field of more than 1,500 competitors
  • The biggest club taking part is Bustinskin Tri Club, based in Dorset
  • On the course there will a whopping 500kg of bananas....
  • and 30,000l of liquids to keep athletes hydrated
  • And if you do msnage to spot the ten people taking part on their birthday, save the bumps until the finish line...


Make a beeline for the IMUK 2011 thread to find out which of our forumites will be lining up at the startline and share your last minute advice and post-race reports.

Post-Race Celebrations

Once you've finished the race, keep us posted about your triathlon triumph. Tell us your race stories via Facebook and Twitter, then send your photos to editor@triathletesworld.co.uk to feature in our Ironman UK gallery.

Competition time

We've teamed up with K-Swiss, official footwear and run course sponsor of Ironman UK, to offer you a pair of their K-Ona S shoes. The K-Swiss K-Ona S is an Ironman specific running shoe (worth £80) that'll help you perform at your peak. For a chance to win, just add your top racing tip to the comment section at the bottom of this article.

You can also visit the K-Swiss stand at the expo in Bolton, where the team will be on hand to help find your ideal running shoes and tri gear.

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Discuss this article

Have a plan for 'personal management' written down. Most performance failures are due to poor personal mangement which can be avoided through nutrition and personal care (sun-cream, chaffing etc).

Writing it down assists the brain in remebering the information allowing you to act on it come race day.

Oh and wear k-Swiss shoes!


Posted: 29/07/2011 at 13:14

'Look' as fast as you can... actual speed doesnt matter, if you look fast then everyone around will just crumble and go slower

Posted: 29/07/2011 at 13:40

remember to take toilet roll....portaloos never have enough in them
Posted: 29/07/2011 at 15:23

Keep a motivational song or saying in your head so when the going gets tough, sing the song or say the saying over and over in your head. It'll take your mind off the pain. @TroyMaloy 
Posted: 29/07/2011 at 15:43

Check, double check and triple check all of the stuff you have to take with you, make yourself a list if you do not have one already.

Nutrition will be sooooooooo important. Make sure you use the gels (or other bars) that you have been testing while training. DO NOT try anything new on the day, Ironman is hard enough, with an upset stomach it will make it more complicated!

Enjoy passing that finish line and don't forget to smile!

Best of luck to all. 

Posted: 29/07/2011 at 16:12

My best tip: In the beginning go as fast as you can, and then gradually increase your speed. 

Posted: 29/07/2011 at 17:00

On the bike, thank the people at the aid stations.........come lap 3 you are going to need them

Posted: 29/07/2011 at 17:07

If possible when warming up before the race run the wrong way from the finish and then back again... that way you'll know what the finish looks like. I like to be familiar with where I am going, the terrain etc... (Only works if Tri begins and ends in same place!)
Posted: 29/07/2011 at 17:16

Put sunscreen in T1 and T2 bags and most important remember to take some plastic/rubber gloves. In the unlikely event (UK), likely (elsewhere) of having to put on sunscreen you'll avoid having it on everything else you touch afterwards, eg sunglasses, brake levers etc.
Posted: 30/07/2011 at 06:47

Posted: 30/07/2011 at 06:59

try something new on race day

always makes things a little more interesting!

Posted: 30/07/2011 at 08:12

fell off my bike today,badly bruised and cut,morale of the story is that lifes a bitch.......
Posted: 30/07/2011 at 11:14

Mentally prepare yourself by imagining the race from warm up and swim through transitions to crossing the line.  Having already "raced" mentally you can relax knowing exactly what to do!
Posted: 31/07/2011 at 10:10

Well done to Troy Squires - you've won the pair of K-Ona S shoes! Could you send your full address to dominique.brady@natmag-rodale.co.uk

Thanks to everyone else for submitting your excellent tips and good luck with all your future races.

 Dominique TW

Posted: 02/08/2011 at 10:18

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