The Montgomery Canal Triathlon, the canal’s biggest event of the year, is set to return om May 7 after two years of disruption caused by the pandemic.
The triathlon, organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and supported by the Canal & River Trust, is one of the most popular cross border events, starting in Newtown and ending in Shropshire.
This annual event supports the canal’s restoration and ran for eight years before the coronavirus in 2020 caused a postponement to 2021.
The ninth triathlon took place on September 4 last year and, owing to ongoing restoration works at Crickheath, was a special ‘marathon’ length of about 27 miles, shorter than the usual 35 miles.
This year, the triathlon will be similar to last year, starting at Open Newtown’s new Riverside venue and finishing near restoration works at Crickheath, near Oswestry.
There will be a 12-mile cycling section from Newtown to Belan, 5.5 miles by canoe through Welshpool to Pool Quay and 9.5 miles on foot to the finish at Crickheath.
Christine Palin, Friends of the Montgomery Canal chairman, said: “We are really looking forward to the triathlon and hope that this year it will not be affected by any restrictions. Conditions last year meant we had to move the event to the autumn.
“There has been so much interest already, even before bookings have opened, that we hope we won’t have to limit the numbers taking part.
“Last year’s alternative format was enjoyed by many who took part so we shall repeat that, starting again from the new Open Newtown base – we hope that exciting project will be finished by May.
“The new arrangements mean canoeing through the centre of Welshpool which draws attention to what the canal will bring the town when it is connected to the rest of the waterway system.
“The event also shows what has been achieved in reopening the canal so far. After closure, many road bridges were removed, blocking the canal. The cycling section includes five of these crossings.
“By contrast, canoeists will see the bridges north and south of Welshpool which are again open for navigation. The final section on foot, over the section to the Welsh border and through Llanymynech, includes the four road blockages which can be reopened with recently-announced government grants as well as Schoolhouse Bridge, which is to be rebuilt this year as one of the most exciting projects of the restoration.”
“The Montgomery Canal Triathlon has always been very successful in raising funds for restoration. The Restore the Montgomery Canal! appeal is raising the final funds for the reconstruction of Schoolhouse Bridge which is the biggest project volunteers have yet undertaken on the canal.
“The triathlon is popular with families as well as the more athletic, with entrants aged from eight to 80 coming from across the country – and occasionally beyond! We are sure this year’s will be as enjoyable.”
Booking for the triathlon will open soon and will be available only through the website https://themontgomerycanal.org.uk/friends/montgomery-canal-triathlon/ .
Competitors enjoying last year’s Montgomery Canal Triathlon.
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