A THREE-time Ironman world champion will be on hand to inspire competitors at this summer’s Ironman UK endurance event in Bolton.

Australian athlete Craig Alexander, regarded as one of the most respected Ironman champions in the world, will be joining in the 10-year celebrations of Ironman UK in the borough during the weekend on Sunday, July 20.

The athlete, otherwise known as “Crowie”, will be on hand to provide some last-minute advice for athletes at a pre-event pasta party on Friday, July 18.

The following day he will be inspiring the next generation of endurance athletes as he visits the Ironkids race in Bolton town centre.

On the Sunday, “Crowie” will be a welcome sight for exhausted athletes as they cross the finishing line and he will also be handing out medals.

Ahead of his visit to Bolton, he said: “I am really looking forward to spectating at Ironman UK this July.

“I have heard the course in Bolton is beautiful and very spectator-friendly — it sounds like a great venue to really get behind the athletes and cheer them on to the finish.”

The Australian’s long list of achievements include winning the world championship double of the half and full Ironman, as well as claiming a new world record.

His victories stretch over several years — Crowie won world titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

When visiting Bolton, Craig will see a new and extended two-lap bike course as well as the relocation of the T2 event to the Reebok Stadium.

Kevin Stewart, managing director of Ironman UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted that such an iconic name in Ironman racing will be joining us. Having heard Craig speak after his 2011 World Championship, he is truly inspirational.”

Online entry for the race is still available through ironmanuk.com and tickets for the pasta party on Friday, July 19, are limited to athletes and families and must be booked in advance at uk@ironman.com or at athlete registration.