Internationally recognised sporting event has a new host town

Community leaders and business owners have welcomed the announcement that a sporting event expected to bring up to £2 million into the North Yorkshire economy has a new host town.

The internationally recognised Long Course Weekend will now take place in Masham in September this year – and for the following two years.

Initial plans were to see it based in Pateley Bridge but difficulties over using the Nidderdale Showground have led to the move to the neighbouring town. However, events are still expected to go through Pateley Bridge and around Nidderdale.

Executive member for open to business, Cllr Derek Bastiman, whose portfolio includes the visitor economy, said: “I am delighted that the community of Masham has taken the opportunity to be the new host town for this prestigious event, and that Pateley Bridge will still benefit from events coming through the town and the visitors they will bring with them.

“It will take place in Masham for all three years and we expect it to extend the local tourism season both there and the surrounding areas as it brings in extra income to local businesses and tourist providers.

“To be hosting such a well-respected and internationally-renowned sporting event is a real coup. 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.”

Competitors from across the country are expected to descend on the county for 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. It is expected to attract thousands of competitors and visitors.

The chief executive officer of the Global Long Course Weekend, Matthew Evans, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the latest Long Course Weekend in Masham. The town’s enthusiasm for hosting events is clearly evident and the passion and support the local community has shown us is second to none.

“We also look forward to developing the legacy programme and working with the parish council to support local causes. The Long Course Weekend is built on local community partnerships to market a real Yorkshire experience to a global audience. We look forward to putting on a very special show in September and one the community can be proud of.”

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.

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.

Five people with the Long Course weekend flag

The exact course has yet to be finalised, but the event will be staged from Friday, 6 September, to Sunday, 8 September.

Masham Parish Council’s vice-chair, Ian Johnson, said: “Masham Parish Council is delighted that we have been selected as the host town for the Long Course Weekend. This is a big boost to our local economy.

“We have always been keen to support big sporting events such as the Tour de France’s Grand Départ and the Tour de Yorkshire when many thousands of visitors came to Masham.

“We have a reputation for volunteer-led events with the annual steam rally and sheep fair raising thousands for charity. The town always likes to celebrate and will embrace this weekend with gusto.”

The owner of the Old Station Caravan Park in Masham, Flo Grainger, said: “The benefit to tourism businesses in the area will be great, and will provide a much-needed lift over the winter months, which can be very lean in these rural areas.

“It will showcase what is on offer and will boost trade and assist employment for years to come, bringing fresh hope to many in a time of ever rising overheads, for a fragile rural economy, largely based on tourism.”

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.

Find out more about the Long Course Weekend.