Not long now until athletes go under starter’s orders at the first Challenge Weymouth in Dorset this weekend. We’ve got some exclusive race tips from someone who has already familiarised herself well with the course – Californian pro athlete Charisa Wernick.
First though, some background – the race will be held on Sunday 14 September in Weymouth, and offers both full iron-distance and middle-distance events. According to the organisers, there will be 537 athletes taking part in the full-distance race, and 879 doing the half.
It’s drawn 12 pro men including Stephen Bayliss, Joe Skipper and Craig Twigg, while the seven-deep pro women’s field will include Challenge Vichy winner Gabriella Zelinka (HUN) and Britain’s Eleanor Haresign.
“Having been training on the Challenge Weymouth course for the past week, I would argue that race day will not disappoint, whether you are a competitor or coming to support friends and family on Sunday,” says Charisa.
“The swim takes place across from Lodmoor Park. I have seen the water both glassy and a bit choppy depending on the direction of the wind in the morning. Either way, the water temperature is perfect and the sunrise should not pose a problem when sighting the buoys.
“Dorset is beautiful for cycling. If you are racing in the half you will complete a single loop (while the full will complete two loops) that highlights fantastic rolling countryside scenery, small villages and lanes lined with hedges. The beginning of the ride incorporates the majority of the climbing, and although none of the hills are excessively steep, the rollers continue for about 20 miles. Pacing will be especially important if you are racing the full. The second portion of the loop is flat and fast, but can have a strong headwind, especially later in the day.
“The run should be the highlight of the day. If you are spectating prepare yourself for an abundance of opportunities to cheer your athlete on! The run hugs the coast of the sea with spectacular views, only to leave the sea for a short run up St. Mary’s Street, which is lined with pubs, cafes and plenty of cheering fans.”
Good luck to everyone racing! Don’t forget to check back on 220triathlon.com for a full race report and gallery shortly afterwards