TriRadar visits the official launch of Challenge Weymouth

Challenge Weymouth

Mayor of Weymouth Ray Banham with Challenge Weymouth organisers Alan and Lucy Rose of Just Racing UK

The shores of Dorset are set to become home to one of the UK’s biggest iron-distance triathlons in 2014, as Challenge shift their UK race from Henley upon Thames to the new venue of Weymouth. It was the official launch event last night and we went along to find out more. Race organiser Alan Rose told us about some of the reasons for the change of venue and what athletes can expect from the new course.

“The local authorities here have been a pleasure to deal with. They understand tourism and how important it is to bring people to an area like this. We aim to have 1,500 athletes, in addition to their friends and families. Weymouth has the facilities and accommodation to cope with that easily.

“The area was used as the Olympic sailing venue in 2012 and the roads are phenomenal. Someone told me they’ve had 25 years worth of new road development done in the last 3 years.

“The swim will be in the sea, starting opposite Lodmoor Country Park. Its likely be a one-lap swim, to save people from running out onto the stones after the first lap!

“We aim to make the bike course two laps for the full distance event (3.8km, 180km, 42.2km) and one lap for the half distance event. We’re looking to create a fast course. You can’t avoid some hills but it has less climbing than Henley did, plus the roads are smooth and well protected in terms of wind. Everyone likes a challenge, but people like to go fast too.

“The run course is pan-flat. Its four laps along the Esplanade, back around the harbour and past all the cafe’s and bars. It’s great for spectators. They’ll be able to see the athletes four times in just one mile without having to walk far.”

Previous winners of Challenge Henley, Yvette Grice and Stephen Bayliss are already signed up for the 2014 event. Grice told us: “Challenge races have a friendly atmosphere and they really know how to look after athletes. I haven’t seen too much of the Weymouth course yet but I’m looking forward to the sea swim, coming from Eastbourne myself. The bike course will be fairly fast, with great road surfaces. And the run will be through the town itself, so the support should be good. I’m looking forward to a great race.”

Further information and entries to the half and full events are available here