5 Great Places to Watch IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire
Staffordshire's toughest sporting event - the IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire triathlon - returns on Sunday 12th June 2016, with 2,500 athletes swimming, cycling and running through the county's captivating countryside.
Here are five hotspots with great views of the race, plenty of excitement and loads of atmosphere to soak in too!
1. Chasewater Country Park
If you're an early riser and want to make sure you experience it all, head for Chasewater Country Park, where the race starts at 7am with a 1.2 mile swim.
Thousands congregated here last year and gave the competitors a great send off.
There is an on-site cafe and dogs are welcome, but there will be no parking facilities on the day, so the best ways to get to Chasewater will be on foot, or via the shuttle buses from The Shugborough Estate.
From Chasewater, they will head out through 56 miles of Staffordshire countryside, taking in beautiful villages including King’s Bromley, Yoxall, and Marchington before reaching Cannock Chase.
For safety reasons, there will be a number of road closures, so you won’t be able to follow the competitors in your cars!
2. King's Bromley
You will be able to get to the picturesque village of King's Bromley, via the A38.
Residents will be hosting their annual Open Gardens, combined with a Fairies and Pirates event put together by local schoolchildren, and the whole village will be yarn-bombed!
There will also be a BBQ by the war memorial, and as ever the Royal Oak will be offering their fabulous Sunday lunches.
The main road through King's Bromley, the A515, will be closed, but you'll be able to get there from Alrewas. Parking is available at the village hall.
3. Wolseley Bridge
Further along the cycle route is Wolseley Bridge, where you'll find a BBQ, cafe, Edinburgh Woollen Mill outlet and free parking at Wolseley Bridge Garden Centre.
There's pedestrian access to The Wolseley Bridge Craft Complex, which includes The Wolseley Tea Hut, Jenny's Crafts and some wonderful, eclectic antiques shops.
You'll find a warm welcome and a refreshing pint at The Wolseley Arms pub, while The Wolseley Centre, home of swans, ducks, kingfishers and more, will also be open.
There will be no access from Rugeley, but you'll be able to reach Wolseley Bridge from Weston and Stone along the A51.
4. Little Haywood
Or why not take a relaxing stroll along the Trent & Mersey Canal to The Shugborough Estate, Little Haywood and Great Haywood for the half marathon?
The Red Lion in Little Haywood is a great vantage point on the run, and there will be live music, a rooftop DJ, and a BBQ.
The atmosphere was fantastic here last year, so it may be worth buying a ticket (£10) if you want to guarantee your spot – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01889 881314.
There will be limited parking in Little Haywood, at the Jubilee Playing Fields.
5. The Shugborough Estate
From there, head to the finish line on The Shugborough Estate.
Browse the merchandise at the IRONMAN Expo, or relax against the backdrop of the majestic Shugborough Hall, the former home of famous photographer - and The Queen's second cousin - Patrick Lichfield.
Be ready to make some noise on the grandstand as the athletes enter the final straight!
They'll need your support to get them over the line after their gruelling challenge!
The eyes of the world will be on Staffordshire - last year Channel Four showed highlights of the race, which were broadcast in over 100 countries including the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.
They'll be back again this year, so let's put on a show to be proud of!