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Sporting Festivals & Events

The Round Barbados Sailing Week

The Round Barbados Sailing Week is held every January. It’s organized by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., and Mount Gay Rum. The main event is the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race, which is 60 nautical miles around the entire island. It attracts all types of boats, and even the occasional windsurfer and kitesurfer, and it takes place on January 21st - Errol Barrow Day, which is a public holiday celebrating the birthday of the first Prime Minister of Barbados. An exciting feature is that if any of the twenty records are broken, the crew wins the skipper’s weight in Mount Gay rum. The race attracts large crowds of locals and visitors, who gather at the best vantage points to watch the yachts sail by.

Sandy Lane Gold Cup

The Sandy Lane Gold Cup is run annually in early March, and it is the most prestigious horseracing event in the Eastern Caribbean. It started in 1982 as the Cockspur Gold Cup, and it has been sponsored by the prestigious Sandy Lane Hotel since 1997. The race attracts visitors from all over the world, and over the years it has attracted regional and international jockeys and trainers, and thoroughbred horses from the UK, North America and the Caribbean. Before the race there are marching bands and dancers, making this a fun event for the whole family. The race is run over a turf course at 1,800 metres (8.95 furlongs) and is open three year old horses and older. It is held at the historic Garrison Savannah, the home of horse racing since 1845, which is part Barbados’ UNESCO World Heritage site. Besides the Gold Cup a regular day at the races is great fun and for more information contact the Barbados Turf Club or check out their web site:

Rally Barbados

Rally Barbados is an annual international all-stage rally held at the end of May into June. It is organized by the Barbados Rally Club, which has been in existence for over 60 years. Rally Barbados has been sponsored by the Sol Group since 2008, and another event on the calendar is extremely popular King of the Hill, sponsored by Flow since 2016. It all started in 1990 as a one-day event with only 30 local competitors, and it has grown to be the Caribbean’s largest motor sport event, with more than 20 special stages spread across the island. It now attracts well over 100 local, regional and international crews and drivers and accounts for more than 4,000 visitor nights each year. It also attracts thousands of local rally enthusiasts, as motor sport in Barbados has a massive following. The festival includes a whole week of activities featuring scrutineering, the Flow King of the Hill, the Sol Rally and the extremely social prizegiving event. 

The Barbados Open Water Festival

The Barbados Open Water Festival began in 2012 and runs annually in early November for five days. Three of the days are practice swims, and the other two days are the races.  Swimmers can choose to swim one day or all five, and experience three beautiful open water swimming locations in Barbados. The races attract large numbers of swimmers from Barbados and all over the world, are there is a wonderful mix of ages and abilities - serious swimmers, swimmers just there for enjoyment, and several first time "sea-swimmers".  The distances are 1.5K, 2K, 3.3K, 5K and 10K.  Swimmers are rewarded with Finisher Medals, Age Category Medals and exciting prizes.

Run Barbados

Run Barbados was conceptualized in 1983, and is held annually in early December. This exciting event has evolved into one of the premier sporting events in Barbados and it lives up to its slogan - “Come for the Run, Stay for the Fun!” It attracts many local runners, as well as many runners from all over the world, who all enjoy the races and the festive atmosphere. The events comprise of the Fun Mile Run & Pasta Party, the 5K Walk, the 5K Run, the 10K run, the half marathon and the marathon. The start and finish is  at the picturesque Bay Street Esplanade, opposite the Prime Minister's office, overlooking the beautiful Carlisle Bay on the outskirts of Bridgetown . The course then winds its way along the streets of Bridgetown, a  UNESCO World Heritage Site, taking in sites like the Independence Arch, the Parliament Buildings (completed in 1873 and the home of the third oldest parliament in the Commonwealth), and the statue of  Lord Nelson, erected in 1813, which pre-dates Nelson's Column in London by nearly 30 years. Cricket lovers will also enjoy the view of Kensington Oval, with the statue of Sir Garfield Sobers out front. The marathon and half-marathon route continue along the west coast where spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea can be enjoyed from various vantage points.

Surfing Competitions

Barbados has an extremely active surfing scene, with several local surfers competing internationally. Also, because the island is further east than our neighbours, the waves are excellent and break on each coastline. The popular spots for competitions are Brandons on the south coast, and the world-renowned Soup Bowl in Bathsheba on the east coast. The November Pro held at Soup Bowl in November attracts competitors from all over the world and is not to be missed. Surf Promotions also organizes the Barbados Surf Pro & Live Like Zander Jr Pro. There are also competitions held by the Barbados Surfing Association throughout the year. (Photo compliments of Andrew Nichols).



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