THE return of Weymouth Half Marathon will provide a much-needed boost to the local economy, the town's mayor has said, as excitement builds ahead of this weekend's event.

The race will take place on Sunday, June 13, following two postponements in September 2020 and March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Between 1,000 and 1,200 runners are expected to take part in the event, organised by Just Racing UK, which will have safety measures including a staggered start and sanitising stations in place, and athletes are not encouraged to bring spectators.

Mayor of Weymouth Town Council, Councillor Colin Huckle, is looking forward to the return of the half marathon, which he thinks will give a boost to the town's economy.

He said: "I think it is good that we are able to host the half marathon again and we should all look forward to it. If people are coming from a distance to participate then that will help our hotel trade and, although athletes are not encouraged to bring spectators, there will be additional people in the town using our cafés, restaurants and pubs which will all help our local economy.

"We saw big crowds of visitors over the bank holiday weekend and we coped very well with the numbers that we saw so we will be able to handle the additional people coming to participate in the event easily.

"I'm sure it will be a great event."

Alan Rose, director of Just Racing, said: "I am very excited to finally get the half marathon delivered after a the long delay. At the bank holiday weekend, Weymouth saw big crowds of visitors going down to enjoy the hot weather and the half marathon won't draw crowds that are as big so we know the town can handle it.

"I'm really looking forward to it."

A spokesman for Weymouth Town Council said: "As per the current national guidance, outdoor events of up to 4,000 people or 50 per cent normal capacity are allowed to take place at this time. Both the event and traffic management plans together with full Covid compliance measures have been scrutinised and reviewed by the Dorset Safety Advisory Group which is represented by organisations such as Dorset Police, the NHS and Public Health."