IRONMAN is set to return to Weymouth in 2018 - and a date has already been set.

The event will once again be a 70.3 race, including a 1.2m swim off Weymouth Beach followed by the 56 mile bike through the Dorset countryside finishing with the 13.1 mile run along the Weymouth esplanade, passing the harbour before finishing in front of The Pavilion theatre.

See all our pictures of Ironman Weymouth 2017 here

It will take place on September 23, 2018. General entries for the 2018 edition will go on sale 15 November 2017.

Organisers said this year's event, which took place last weekend saw a record 2600 athletes from 41 different countries entered, making it the biggest IRONMAN 70.3 race in the UK this year and second biggest in Europe.

The race officially sold out on 2500 entrants but such was the demand that an additional 100 places were made available. In addition to this, the relay team category sold out months before the race with 40 teams entered.

A spokesman said: "With 50 per cent of entrants being first time athletes, Weymouth is fast becoming the race destination of choice in the UK for new athletes to enter the sport."

Complaints about road closures fell drastically, from 70 in 2016 to just three this year. Organisers said they had learnt lessons from 2016 and worked with Dorset County Council to make road closures as smooth as possible.

This year’s event saw over 10,000 visitors travel to Weymouth for the event with accommodation in the town and as far as two hours outside of Weymouth, almost fully booked for the weekend. The race also attracted some stellar professional names such as men’s winner, South Africa’s James Cunnama and Great Britain’s Corinne Abraham.

Racing for the first time in the UK, Cunnama enjoyed his Weymouth experience. “It’s my kind of course, I liked it. It’s a really nice run along the beachfront, lots of support from the Weymouth crowd which was really special. I will definitely race more in the UK,” said Cunnama following his win.

“We continually work towards staging a world class event for our athletes and one that will be a national and international advertisement for Weymouth and greater Dorset. The feedback from this year’s event has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re already hard at work planning for the 2018 race,” said Alan Rose, IRONMAN 70.3 Weymouth Race Director.

“We’re confident that Weymouth can stake a claim as one of the top triathlon destinations in the UK and Europe,” added Mr Rose.