Ironman UK – course tips and everything you need to know

March 15, 2021 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Ironman UK is the original UK long-distance race, with colourful crowds and a famous finish line experience. But how do you conquer the logistics, lumpy bike and lapped run of Bolton?

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Our step-by-step pre-race, swim, bike and run guide is provided by 2015 finisher Janine Doggett (click here to visit Janine’s ‘Triathlove’ blog!) and you’ll find various useful titbits from other finishers, plus stats and a bike course profile too…

PRE-RACE

Lanzarote it isn’t, yet modest Bolton provides an incredible Ironman race. The locality and calm lake swim make it an ideal first-time choice, while the bike course will challenge the toughest of riders. We named Ironman UK 7th in our top 10 European iron-distance races suitable for first timers.

It’s a good idea to recce the course before, and Pennington Flash offers swimming every Saturday morning before the big day. On race day, getting to the start is easy, but leave time to find the nutrition and post-race bag drop area as this isn’t immediately obvious.

THE SWIM

The race kicks off at 6am with a two-lap swim and, despite the quiet nervousness of over 2,000 people in neoprene, the well-organised start pens help to calm you before setting off.

The Flash is a decent temp (19°C in 2015) and there’s plenty of space to find your rhythm, but the water can be choppy. The buoys are easy to spot and the Aussie exit between laps is great for mentally breaking down the swim.

Go to page two to continue reading our mega guide to Ironman UK 

THE BIKE

After a short run to T1, a two-lap course through beautiful Lancashire countryside awaits. With 1,641m of ascent, Sheep House Lane is a tough 3km star of the show. There’s a technical bit at the foot of the descent that can catch people out – it’s marked but stay on guard (and ideally on your bike!).

Some sections are spookily quiet, but there’s sensational sporadic support en route, with locals sporting some outrageous outfits! At the Macron Stadium and T2 (it’s a split transition) there’s no assistance in racking your bike so be ready to find your number. The T2 tent offers a slightly larger privacy screen than T1, so if you want fresh kit for the run you can strip off.

The Bolton Bike course – provided by Veloviewer