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Montgomery Canal hosts The Marathon Triathlon

Montgomery Canal

The step-by-step easing of Coronavirus restrictions created uncertainties which made life difficult for event organisers but the latest easing of rules in Wales has allowed organisers of the Montgomery Canal Triathlon to confirm that the event will go ahead on Saturday 4th September.

Towpath users should note that the canal and towpath will be busy on that day.

The popular Triathlon, which includes sections by cycle and canoe and on foot will be managed with safety in mind and should be enjoyable as enjoyable as past events for families and the seriously athletic. The Triathlon raises funds for the restoration of the canal and this year will be started by local Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams with the support of Newtown Mayor, Richard Williams.

Covid restrictions meant that the Triathlon could not take place last year and then had to be moved to a later date this year. Additionally, the route has been modified for a number of reasons, particularly the closed towpath at Crickheath caused by continuing restoration of a section of dry canal bed. There will be a new start too, at Open Newtown’s new riverside venue. From there entrants will cycle 12 miles to the picturesque Belan Locks. Then, reversing the previous order, the next section will be by canoe to Crowther Hall Lock, Pool Quay (about 5½ miles), with the final section of about 9½ miles on foot to finish at Bridge 86, just before the towpath closure. The truncated route is still the length of a marathon so it’s a ‘Marathon Triathlon’.

After cancellation last year many entrants deferred their entries and the return of others who intended to take part last year means the event will be fully booked with about 130 entrants, which is the limit the organisers feel can be managed with safety this year. While many of these entrants come from the local area others come from as far as Suffolk and Stirlingshire.

Christine Palin, Chairman of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal said, “It will be a very different Triathlon this year, at a different time of year, over a shorter route, with a different start and a different canoe section, and of course all with Covid precautions in place.

“The changed format means that as a first for the Triathlon, it’s the canoes that will be passing through Welshpool, showing what the restored canal can offer the area. Success of the recent bid for government funding by Powys County Council and the Canal & River Trust could bring nearer the connection of Welshpool to thousands of miles of navigable canal across England and Wales.

“Despite the changes, anyone taking part will still see rebuilt bridges, established canalside nature reserves and restored lengths of canal, as well as bridge blockages and unnavigable sections that still have to be reopened.

“The shorter route means we shall not pass through the section where volunteers of the Shropshire Union Canal Society will be at work reconstructing the canal to the restored Crickheath Basin. The finish will be just short of that section, at Schoolhouse Bridge, Bridge 86, the last highway blockage in Shropshire. This will be the focus of a major volunteer-led reconstruction project next year using funds raised by a joint team of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, Shropshire Union Canal Society and the Inland Waterways Association. Closing the highway to rebuild a road bridge in a matter of months is a challenging project – we are always interested to hear from anyone who would like to join the challenge.“

The organisers are grateful to Open Newtown for help with the start at their new ‘Severn Space – Gofod Hafren’ riverside venue. and to the Canal & River Trust for their support.