IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire to welcome biggest field in its history
Triathlon challenge IRONMAN 70.30 Staffordshire runs on 12 June and features a 1.2-mile reservoir swim at Chasewater Country Park, a 56-mile bike course through the Staffordshire countryside and Cannock Chase, and a 13.1-mile run into Stafford.
It’s just over six weeks until the seventh edition of IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire, and registration numbers are at an all-time high. Close to 3,000 athletes will take the chance to push their limits in a challenging 70.3-mile swim, bike, and run event on 12 June.
This year’s event marks the first full capacity race since 2019, following disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic which led to event cancellation in 2020 and a smaller athlete field in 2021.
Despite this, the appetite for triathlon has continued to grow, as 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire gets ready to welcome the largest athlete field in its history.
Rebecca Sutherland, Race Director for IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire, said:
“IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire is our first race of the UK season and it’s inspiring to see record numbers registered to participate. We’re looking forward to welcoming back old and new athletes and making that finish line feeling possible for even more participants at this year’s event.
"We’d like to thank Staffordshire County Council Council, Stafford Borough Council, and all the dedicated suppliers, staff, and volunteers that help make IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire a success year on year.”
So far, registered athletes will represent 55 different countries, with participants set to fly in from the likes of France, United States, Poland, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands amongst others.
Staffordshire athletes will also be out in force, with 173 currently registered to race, and Stafford Triathlon Club sitting at the top of the Tri Club podium with 64 athletes.
Amongst the county's athletes will be Andy Stone from Eccleshall, a former alcoholic who will be attempting to break two Guinness World Records to raise money for addiction charities. The challenge will see him carry out 70 half-distance triathlons (the same distance as an IRONMAN 70.3) in 70 days – culminating with IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire on the final day of his challenge.
Competitors range in age from 18 to 77 across general entry and the relay category, which is sold-out with 103 athletes racing from 48 different teams. Forty-five of the top finishing athletes will receive qualifying places for the 2022 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place in St George, Utah on 28 and 29 October 2022.
The growth of women’s participation in triathlon events has also prompted the introduction of 25 additional World Championship slots exclusively for women racing at IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire.
These are part of the Women For Tri initiative, a programme of the IRONMAN Foundation launched in 2015 to promote female participation at all levels of triathlon by breaking down barriers to participation.
Staffordshire County Council's Deputy Leader and cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, Philip Whire, said:
“We’re pleased to see IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire return to the county this year and with more athletes than ever before. It means we can once again showcase Staffordshire to visitors from across the UK and the world.
"We’re an outward looking county with fantastic natural assets, visitor attractions, and places to stay, and we work closely with our neighbours to provide an excellent visitor experience. We look forward to welcoming athletes, their families and friends to Staffordshire in June.”
With a fast and flat course and non-open water swim, IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire is known for being first-timer friendly, and this year is no different as the race is set to welcome 58 per cent first time IRONMAN athletes.
Athletes will undertake a 1.2-mile reservoir swim at Chasewater Country Park, a meandering 56-mile bike course through the heart of the Staffordshire countryside and Cannock Chase AONB, and a 13.1-mile run alongside the River Sow and into Stafford Town Centre.
With the infamous Stafford crowd support throughout the course, participants will race past the iconic Stafford Castle before finishing under the IRONMAN 70.3 finish gantry at Stafford’s Market Square.
Limited general entry places are still available for IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire.
Athletes can register at www.ironman.com/im703-staffordshire-register.