The Weymouth 70.3 Iron Man event is the biggest and most popular in the UK. This year, 2,690 entrants took part in somewhat indifferent weather conditions. Early wind and rain caused the swimming section to be delayed till 7:25am and the course was shortened, because of the choppy water. The bike race and road race sections were not affected. George Goodwin won the men’s race, in a time of 3 hours 44 minutes and 2 seconds (although the official time awarded was two seconds longer – for unknown reasons). The ladies race was won, again, by India Lee. Thousands of spectators braved the showery weather to watch and appluad competitors as they came home. Once again, the finish line was just 50 yards from Aaran Guesthouse on the Pavilion forecourt. So many events in Weymouth and most of them visible just yards from our doorstep.
The UKBT Classic Beach Volleyball competition took place this year from 24th to 27th July, on the main beach, just yards from Aaran Guesthouse. Despite being snowed under with guests at this time of year, we were able to dash out and grab a few photographs of the proceedings. (We publish this on 18th September – that’s how busy it has been!)
There was music all day and hundreds of spectators were seated at the grandstand, constructed on the Beach. Local sponsors were Domvs (estate agents). Thousands of people watched (free) as the centre court and outside games continued. Weymouth is probably the best place to see this premier UK sporting competition, with added advantages of plenty of delghtful smal guesthouses and, equally important, great pubs and restaurants, immediately nearby.
Cornish Pilot Gig racing has become a popular sport recently. Gig racing clubs have sprung up all over Dorset and the South West since around 2000. On Saturday, we saw 19 Gig boats from towns along the Jurassic Coast taking part in demonstration races, with casual and team competitors of all ages.
In addition to the gig races, there were numerous other events taking place around Weymouth. These included separate live music venues at the Town Bridge and across the Harbour in Hope Square. There were numerous stalls along the Harbourside on the South Bank as well as Celebration of the US Memorial Day on the Esplanade. There was a funfair on the Pavilion Forecourt and Fireworks in the evening to celebrate the new Town Council.
Bright for Sight run has previously been held on Boscombe Beach in Bournemouth and now, they have come to Weymouth. Our first such fun run was held on Saturday night, starting at 8:30pm, alongside the Pavilion Theatre. We strolled across the 50 yards or so to watch the start. Runners were dressed in bright colours and wore flashing lights, wherever they could.
The event was sponsored by Frith’s Opticians and raised over £1300 for Charity. A number of local businesses contributed and individual runners also raised sponsorship money. There were two distances, 5 km and 10 km. We hope this run will be back again soon and become a regular event on the Weymouth calendar.
The race started at 9:00 am from the Weymouth Pavilion forecourt, just 50 yards away and carried on along the sea-front to Preston Beach and back. Runners finished back on the Forecourt, a short stroll from our front door. About 500 people gathered to watch in bright sunshine, although a few clouds headed in later. There was a light breeze but race times were very competitive. The winning time was 1 hour, 12 minutes and 53 seconds, by Jacek Cieluszecki. He was followed just 38 seconds later by Jo Corbett and Matt Papa.
Bonfire Night fireworks have been a continuing tradition in Weymouth for many years. The bonfire was lit at 7:20pm. Aamazingly, next morning the remains were collected by Weymouth Council for reuse (as far as possible). The fireworks started at 7:45pm. The small pilot boat was the centre of about 15 minutes of fiery and sparkly mayhem as the fireworks lit up the clear night sky.
About 10,000 people watched the display with many also enjoying the chips and drinks available from several stalls along the Esplanade. Many others watched from sea-facing rooms in their guesthouses. We filmed a few short clips from our front doorstep – overlooking the whole Bay and all the pyrotechnics. The massive bonfire itself was just 100 yards away along the Beach.
As in previous years, the event was free . It is just one of the host of great events to be seen from any of the lovely little sea front hotels and guesthouses on Weymouth’s Esplanade. (See https://www.whgla.org.uk for Guesthouse details)
Intermediate riders heading for the Beach straight
Riders passing the Sandworld display area
Riders sculpting sand their won way
Junior riders nearing lap completion
Junior motocross riders nearing lap completion
The view from our rooms –
Weymouth Lions Club organised the annual Beach Motocross race on 28th October this year. The weather was a little cold and windy so we elected to view the race from our guest room 1, above the crowds lining the Esplanade.
The event raised £1800 for Weymouth and Portland Lions Club and an estimated 20,000 visitors watched the races – FREE ! We would also like to add our congratulations to regular Weymouth commentator, Paul Hardy, on his well-deserved retirement.
Iron Man 70.3 Weymouth was on 23rd September this year. As per usual, the start/finish line was outside the Pavilion Theatre. The morning was pretty unpromising, with squally rain and strong winds. However, the weather brightened up as the day progressed. The male pro race was delayed till 7:20am, Femnale Pro till 7:22am and the bulk race started at 7:30am. Over 1,300 competitors took part. Below are some images from previous years.
Around 11:20, the overall winner, Elliott Smales, came past The Roundhouse Hotel next door and onto the Pavilion forecourt, to take first place. The winning time was just over 4 hours 3 minutes – not a record due to the prevailing conditions. Indie Lee from Winchester won the ladies Pro race in 4 hours 24 minutes.
Iron Man 2017 behind Aaran House
The race starts at Preston Beach, with a 2km swim (only 0.9km this year). Then comes the bike ride around local villages, with a shorter but steeper course this year. Finally, there is the road race over 3 laps around Weymouth.
We believe the next race (half marathon) takes place next year in March
We are now nearing the end of the Summer Season, so it seemed appropriate to mention the Donkey Rides. The rides have been delighting children (and Parents) for many, many years. The donkeys come from Westhill Farm, under new stewardship since 2011. The tradition has continued since the 19th century. The rides take place near the "Boat" beach cafe, at the Southern end of Weymouth Beach and just 100 yards from Aaran Guesthouse. The course takes riders 100 yards along the sands and back again. We think parents enjoy watching just as much as their kids enjoy the riding the donkeys.
Half Marathon races started in Weymouth a few years ago, as part of the Iron Man events. Now in its 5th year, the 20.3 kilometre race took place in June. The course ran from Lodmoor, around the town and seafront and back to Weymouth Pavilion, just 50 yards away.
Competitor behind Aaran House
Just Racing sponsor the event. Up to 1500 competitors take part and there are numerous water and feedig stations around the course. In the Iron Man races, the athletes swim 2 km and cycle about 110km around local villages, before entering the running stage. Weymouth is fast becoming a mecca for Marathons and Fun Runs.