ALMOST 1,000 people have signed up for Challenge Weymouth, one of the country’s top triathlon events.

It is the first time the sporting event will be held in Dorset and organisers say it is set to be bigger and better than ever before – attracting an expected 1,500 athletes and an extra 5,000 visitors.

Event director Alan Rose told the Echo huge numbers from Weymouth and the surrounding areas have already signed up, with a more than 900 overall entrants so far.

The event, which will be held on September 14, is also attracting some of the top names in UK triathlons as well as entrants from overseas.

Weymouth’s Ben Harris, 37, is taking part to raise money for Dorset children’s hospice Julia’s House.

The commercial yacht master said: “I’ve taken part in hundreds of triathlons and endurance events.

“It is fantastic that this event is coming to Weymouth- it will once again put the area on the map in the wake of the Olympics.”

It is hoped to be a real boost for the resort’s economy with Challenge UK organisers urging local bands, businesses and schools to get involved as the eyes of the sporting world turn to the borough once again.

Around 25 members of BustinSkin, a popular Dorset club which has developed a series of events in Weymouth and Portland, are also taking on the triathlon.

Matt Bacon, who works for Sunseeker, is also getting involved.

The 36-year-old Portland resident said: “I have done events like this before but this one is great because it is local and will hopefully be a real boost for the town.”

Echo photographer John Gurd, 50, added: “I’m taking part in the half triathlon and will be facing the cycle ride as part of a relay team.

“It’s a great challenge and I’m looking forward to starting training.”

For more information about the event visit or email to get involved.