BUDDING competitors are on their marks to sign up for the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire triathlon next summer.
Athletes who have pre-registered their interest in the event can enter online from 1pm on August 26.
So far, more than 7,500 people have registered an interest in signing up for one of the fastest triathlons on the sporting calendar for 2015.
Pre-registered athletes will have 24 hours to secure a place on a first come, first served basis before general entries open at 1pm the following day, when any remaining places will be made available.
The Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire, being held on June 14, will see 2,500 athletes start by completing a 1.2 mile swim in Chasewater reservoir.
They will then tackle a 56-mile bike ride through the countryside outside Lichfield, Burton upon Trent and across Cannock Chase. The concluding 13.1-mile run will start and finish at the Shugborough country estate, home of the Earls of Lichfield.
Kevin Stewart, managing director of Ironman UK, said: "We have had an incredible response to the announcement that we are coming to Staffordshire and there is bound to be a great demand for places when entries go live.
"The venue of Shugborough and the amazing backdrop of Staffordshire offers the perfect setting in every aspect, and I am confident next year's competition will swiftly prove a sell-out."
One of more than 70 events in the global Ironman series, the Staffordshire event will offer age group slots for athletes to qualify for the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, to be held in Europe for the first time at Zell am See, Austria.
Athletes wishing to register for the Staffordshire event should visit www.ironman.com/staffordshire70.3