Canal triathlon success
From families to serious athletes hundreds of competitors enjoyed taking part in a triathlon with a difference along the Montgomery Canal.
Welsh rugby legend, Sir Gareth Edwards, provided a celebrity shine to this year's event, organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal.
This annual event supports the restoration of the canal and involves a 17-mile cycling section from Newtown to Pool Quay, 11 miles on foot to Morton, south of Oswestry, and a final, seven mile section by canoe finishing near the junction with the Llangollen Canal.
Participants could undertake one, two or all three of the sections. This year the event was being filmed as part of a series of programmes on the Welsh canals to be shown later in the year on BBC Wales TV featuring rugby legend Sir Gareth Edwards and his wife Maureen.
Sir Gareth assisted by the Mayor of Newtown and Llanllwchaearn, Councillor Sue Newham, started the cyclists at Newtown at 8.30am. He then followed the event at the changeover points, finally greeting the weary entrants at the end of the canoe section.
There were more than 200 taking part, helped by 85 marshals, Friends of the Montgomery Canal and their friends, who were on hand at changeover points, and assisting at locks and road crossings.
Christine Palin, chairman of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal said, “The Montgomery Canal Triathlon is a wonderful event which people come back to year after year. We also have new entrants of course, and this year as well as local teams other entrants came hundreds of miles to take part. Among those who completed all three sections were more than one family with a child under ten years old, and at least one who took part was over 80."
“This year we had a truly international flavour as we offered entrants the chance to have their photograph taken, to be emailed to them, as they passed over the border from Wales into England and even more exciting was that we learned that a family had come from Switzerland for the weekend especially to take part in all three sections. They were delighted with the canal and its scenery and thought that the Triathlon was a brilliant idea to showcase the canal and its benefits to the community.
"The first participant finished in an amazing four hours and 13 minutes with others were finishing over five hours later. But that doesn’t matter, because our Triathlon is very much a fun event attracting groups of family or friends and at the end they tell us what a delightful event it has been.
“There is a serious side to the Triathlon. We want people to learn about the Montgomery Canal and the area it runs through, and to see what has been achieved and what still has to be done to take the restoration forward. The event raises money for the next stages of restoration. Although we don’t yet know how much was raised we were presented by a cheque for £1,000 by the team from the Oswestry and Welshpool branches of the West Bromwich Building Society, and we are delighted with their support.”