The world’s ultimate test of endurance arrives in Bolton this weekend as more than 1,500 athletes compete in Ironman UK.
Competitors from 34 countries will participate in the fourth annual event as Olympic champion Rebecca Romero MBE, and double amputee soldiers Simon Harmer and Joe Townsend tackle the feat.
Turning to triathlon for the first time, Romero said: “This time it’s not about winning gold or silver – if I get across the finishing line, it’ll be an amazing achievement.”
More than 30,000 are expected to turn out to watch professional and amateurs competitors looking to cross the finish line within the 17 hour time limit to gain the Ironman badge of glory.
Harmer and Townsend will be part of Team True Spirit, a charity set up to support injured servicemen.
In preparation of Sunday’s event Simon said: “This will certainly be a challenge and I’m looking forward to it. I just really hope that I will be able to finish it.
“I’m doing this to make my family proud and to help the charity – without them life would be an awful lot harder.”
The event takes place over this weekend with a range of activities for all the family.
On Saturday, 1,000 children aged between three and 16 will take part in the inaugural IronKids run.
Kevin Stewart, Managing Director Ironman Britain and Ireland, said: “Having made a number of changes to the event for 2012, we are really looking forward to welcoming athletes of all ages to Ironman UK.
“The facilities of Bolton and the surrounding countryside offer a superb platform for staging such an iconic event and we very much hope spectators will come and support the athletes throughout their race.”
The weekend’s events are free for spectators to watch.