People dressed as wrestlers cheer on a cyclist

It was a weekend to remember: For the first time in two years IRONMAN athletes came together at five European races on a single weekend to celebrate their love for triathlon as they raced at Club La Santa IRONMAN Lanzarote (Spain) and IRONMAN 70.3 Lahti, Finland on Saturday as well Supersapiens IRONMAN UK, the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Andorra and IRONMAN 70.3 Les Sables d’Olonne – Vendée (France) on Sunday.

In total more than 6,000 athletes toed the start line in an epic comeback for the sport and the IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon series in Europe. The 2021 Supersapiens IRONMAN UK season opener saw Joe Skipper (08:42:59/UK) and Katrina Matthews (09:40:01/UK) claim top podium spots, winning the men’s and women’s races respectively. Over 1,200 athletes were delighted to be back in Bolton to participate in the race under the Safe Return to Racing Guidelines.

Bolton Council Leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said: “IRONMAN weekend is always a wonderful occasion but this year it has been extra special as we welcome a big event back to Bolton after so long. It has been great to see visitors coming from across the UK to take part in the event, cheer the athletes and support local businesses. Even a bit of bad weather could not stop us giving a warm welcome and showing that famous Bolton hospitality. We look forward to hosting IRONMAN again in September [for the IRONMAN 70.3 Bolton triathlon].”

Meanwhile, the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Andorra triathlon concluded the first Andorra Multisport Festival which saw trail runners, mountain bikers, cyclist and triathletes compete across events ranging from March to July. Today, Andorra also set a record for hosting the highest IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon swim venue in Europe as athletes started their race in Engolasters Lake, 1600m above mean sea level. Ellie Salthouse of Australia dominated the women’s field winning in 05:10:01, while Clément Mignon (France) took the men’s top podium finishing in 04:22:56.

Holding the distinction of being one of the few events that were able to take place in 2020, IRONMAN 70.3 Les Sables d’Olonne – Vendée also served as this year’s season opener for the IRONMAN triathlon season in France. Not only did the athletes return, but so did the spectators under current local guidelines to cheer athletes on the scenic swim, bike and run courses. In the end it was a double victory for Germany as fellow countrymen Anne Reischmann (4:21:23) and Mika Noodt (3:47:14) scored their first wins of the season.