150 services were operated, and 4,500 competitors and spectators were transported

FTS demonstrated their skill and capability through this challenging operation

FTS operated athlete dedicated shuttle services

The challenge

Ironman races are a feat of human endurance that attract hundreds of adrenaline fuelled competitors and thousands of well-wishing spectators.

By their very nature the courses are long and spread out. First Travel Solutions (FTS) were asked to provide transport solutions for the Ironman event in Stafford in June 2018.

The brief was to provide a combination of athlete and fan transport over two days and across three separate locations.

The Saturday before race day is used to allow competitors to register for the event and spend some time getting used to the swimming, running and cycling courses whereas the Sunday is all action for 13 hours of intense competition.

The solution

It is well documented that athletes often perform much better when as many distractions are eliminated from their preparation as possible. Getting to the event with your equipment on time and in a seamless and stress-free manner is therefore crucial.

On Saturday 9th June FTS operated athlete dedicated shuttle services between Holland Park and the transition site at Chasewater. Two buses ran between 0800-1700 and provided carriage for nearly 700 competitors, their bikes and equipment.

The Sunday operation was much more complex, and the 25 strong team of co-ordinators and drivers worked together to ensure smooth delivery.

The race is staged in different phases with athletes starting at different times dependent on their ability and experience. The first event was the swimming at Chasewater which started very early in the morning.

FTS had to work with the organisers to understand event and phasing timings and provide athlete and spectator transport that got everyone to the start line in plenty of time for the starter’s pistol.

16 double deck vehicles were deployed between 0430-1700 and provided connections between Holland Park, Chasewater and Stafford town centre.

A spectator park and ride service was also provided, operating between Stafford showground and the town centre.

FTS did much more than operate bus transport and devised and managed parking and queuing systems, pick up and drop off points and put in procedures to safely transport extremely expensive competitor equipment.

Routes were designed and tested many times to make sure no one missed their start time.

The result

FTS demonstrated their skill and capability through this logistically challenging and very time sensitive operation.

Over the course of the weekend around 150 services were operated, and 4,500 competitors and spectators were transported. All athletes got to the start line on time and spectators were at the rope line on schedule to see their friends and family compete.

The event organisers were impressed with the efforts of the team and have contracted FTS to support at this year’s Stafford event and the races at Tenby and Weymouth. A fourth event at Bolton is also being discussed.