Deadline looms to take part in Plymouth pirates' fun run

Pirates on the Barbican during the 2023 Pirates Weekend -Credit:Carl Eve/PlymouthLive
Pirates on the Barbican during the 2023 Pirates Weekend -Credit:Carl Eve/PlymouthLive

The deadline is looming to sign up to be part of a world first, when Plymouth stages a pirate fun run. Organisers of Plymouth’s Pirates Weekend are aiming to attract 800 runners for the inaugural Pirates Fun Run this Spring.

The event, scheduled for Sunday, May 19, follows in the footsteps of the successful Santa Fun Run, which returned last Christmas after a four year hiatus and brought 600 Father Christmases to the waterfront. Now the idea is to replicate the idea, but make it even bigger, and also raise cash for a good cause, in this case childhood bereavement charity Jeremiah’s Journey.

The fun run is also aimed at supporting waterfront businesses and the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership (PWP) is urging them to get involved. Registration closes on May 9 so to take part in the fun run sign up here.


The PWP is extending the popular Pirates Weekend again this year after it brought 36,000 visitors to the area in 2023, over two days, and created £250,000 in “media value” exposure for the waterfront.

This year the PWP is hoping to top 40,000 visitors. In addition to the Pirates Fun Run, a Spanish tall ship is scheduled for a four-day stop, weather permitting, and a pirate-themed dog show, in partnership with Gables Dogs and Cats Home, will be staged at Commercial Wharf. Jon Walton, PWP chief executive and waterfront manager, said a few other surprises would be announced before the weekend of May 18 an19.

He said: “We’ve done a lot of research and can’t find anyone that had done a pirates’ fun run. It will be fantastic, a lot of fun and great to raise money for Jeremiah’s Journey.

“We are about to agree on the route. It will not be too arduous, about 3km around the waterfront. It will be for all ages and like the Santa fun run - which will happen on December 8 this year.

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“The whole idea is to have a throng of pirates of all ages - and dogs too,” he added. “We want a complete wash of pirates, people having fun and celebrating the waterfront. We had more than 600 for the Santa fun run so we are going for 800 for the pirates, but the more the merrier.

“Some businesses got involved with the Santa run last year and did well out of it. So we want businesses to get involved and provide a special offer for anyone dressed as a pirate. At Christmas some offered mulled wine and a mince pie for anyone dressed as Santa

“On the day of the run, from about 10am the footfall will start to build so we urge businesses to take part and take advantage of it. It’s about converting these events into sales.

“All these events are funded by our businesses, it’s important they get the benefit. We want people to have fun and enjoy the city, but the businesses support these events and it is important for them to get something out of it.”

He said the Pirates Weekend continues to evolve and said: “We are aiming to attract 40,000 people for the two days this year. We want to keep the core elements and add new things which people will enjoy just as much, but with a few surprises for people.

“We will be doing entertainment in West Hoe Park and working with the Royal William Yard. We have brought those areas into it and they are now part of the entertainment programme for the events.

“There are a couple of other surprises which we haven’t confirmed yet, but the classics like parades and stilt walkers will be here, but we are adding to it to give people an even better day out.”

The swashbuckling event has been a mainstay in the events calendar for more than 13 years,. In 2023 an estimated 10,000 people turned up dressed as buccaneers and 14 shanty bands performed around the waterfront throughout the weekend to entertain crowds. They even continued to perform in pubs after the main event finished for the day.

Last year, PWP events attracted 90,000 additional visitors to the waterfront, contributing more than £5m in economic impact. That total included the 27,000 that came to Seafest, and 26,000 that enjoyed Christmas events including the Barbican lights switch on.