Competitors from across the country are expected to descend on North Yorkshire next year with the launch of a major sporting event that is aiming to boost the county’s vital visitor economy.
The Long Course Weekend will be hosted by us in September next year, the first time that the internationally recognised multi-sport event has been staged in England.
It is hoped that the event, which is based on the principles of the triathlon but is tailored to open up the three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running to as wide an audience as possible, will bring in as much as £2 million to North Yorkshire’s economy and will attract thousands of competitors and visitors.
The event was established in Wales in 2010, and now has annual competitions taking place across the globe including in Holland, Belgium, Mallorca, Australia and New Zealand.
Executive member for open to business, Cllr Derek Bastiman, whose portfolio includes the visitor economy, said: “To host such a well-respected and internationally-renowned sporting event is a real coup for us.
“The Long Course Weekend has become a very popular date in the sporting calendar in countries across the world, and it will be a privilege for North Yorkshire to host an event next year. It will give us the chance to showcase to a global audience what we can offer here in what is one of the most beautiful and diverse parts of the country.
“We are already looking forward to welcoming all the competitors and their friends and family across the three days of the Long Course Weekend, and I am sure that this will be the first of many extremely successful events.”
The Long Course Weekend is one of only a few sporting events that encompasses swimmers, cyclists, runners and triathletes of all abilities over one weekend. Competitors have the choice to participate in one of the individual disciplines or choose all three to take part in the competition.
The swim distances range from 1.2 miles to 2.4 miles, cycling routes will be from 56 miles to 112 miles and the run will start at five kilometres to a full marathon. There will also be a children’s running event to encourage all members of the family to get involved.
The exact course has yet to be finalised, but the event will be staged from Friday, September 6, to Sunday, September 8, next year and will be centred on Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale. Applications for competitors are due to be opened later this year.
Emma Robinson, a triathlete from North Yorkshire who has competed for Great Britain in her age group, has endorsed the staging of the Long Course Weekend in the county.
Mother-of-three Mrs Robinson, 43, who is from Harrogate and works as a specialist community public health nurse, started triathlon training in 2014.
She then went on to represent Great Britain in her age group in European championships in Geneva in 2015 when she came in eighth place and then the world championships in Chicago the following year when she came in 42nd position out of 107 competitors.
Mrs Robinson suffered a stress fracture while training in February last year but claimed the Long Course Weekend would provide an incentive to start competing in triathlons again.
She said: “The triathlon can seem quite overwhelming to begin with, but it is such a great sport to be involved in as it is challenging but so enjoyable too. I was a keen runner when I was younger, and I came to the triathlon quite late on compared to many people, but I have loved competing.
“The beauty of the Long Course Weekend is the chance to take part in the individual disciplines. As a triathlete I will probably take part in all three, but it’s great that others can choose to just take part in the swim, the cycle or the run. I think it’s great to have such an inclusive event coming to North Yorkshire.”
Mike Holt, a volunteer with the Nidderdale Plus community support organisation, also welcomed the arrival of the Long Course Weekend.
He said: “Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale are such wonderful places, and we do attract a lot of visitors from around the country and from abroad already.
“But to have such a successful internationally-recognised event coming here will broaden our appeal to an even wider audience, and I am looking forward to the arrival of the Long Course Weekend next year.”
The Long Course Weekend is the largest annual multi-sport event in Wales and attracts 11,000 competitors from 56 countries. Up to 33,000 people travel to support the competitors, bringing the total audience to 44,000 people for the event.
The Long Course Weekend’s founder and chief executive, Matthew Evans, said: “The Long Course Weekend has grown from strength to strength since we first staged it back in 2010, and it really has become a global brand.
“We have wanted to bring the Long Course Weekend to England for a long time now, and North Yorkshire is the perfect location as the county has a proven track record of staging major sporting events, such as the Tour de France’s Grand Départ.
“It is one of only a few sporting events that encompasses swimmers, cyclists, runners and triathletes of all abilities over one weekend. We have built a huge following with the events we organise across the world so far, and North Yorkshire will be a very welcome addition to the list of places staging the Long Course Weekend.”
The visitor economy brings in more than £1.5 billion a year from domestic visits alone to North Yorkshire. Tourism in North Yorkshire accounts for 10 per cent of the county’s overall economy, and 41,200 workers are employed in the sector.