After the disruption of the last two years plans are being made for the return of the Montgomery Canal Triathlon, the canal’s biggest event of the year, in its tenth year.
The Triathlon is organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and is supported by the Canal & River Trust in aid of the restoration of the Montgomery Canal. It is one of the most popular cross border events, starting in Newtown in Wales and ending in Shropshire.
This annual event supports the restoration of the canal and ran for eight years before the coronavirus in 2020 caused a postponement to 2021. The ninth Triathlon took place on 4th September 2021 and, owing to ongoing restoration works at Crickheath, was shorter than the usual 35 miles at a special ‘marathon’ length of about 27 miles.
This year, the Triathlon – the 10th Anniversary Marathon Triathlon – is scheduled for 7th May 2022 and will have a format and ‘marathon’ length similar to last year, starting at Open Newtown’s ‘Severn Space – Gofod Hafren’ venue and finishing near restoration works at Crickheath, near Oswestry. There will be:
- a 12-mile cycling section from Newtown to Belan
- 5½ miles by canoe through Welshpool to Pool Quay
- and 9½ miles on foot to the finish at Crickheath.
Christine Palin, Chairman of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, 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 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 8 to 80 coming from across the country – and occasionally beyond! We are sure this year’s will be as enjoyable.”
Booking for the Montgomery Canal Triathlon closes on 9 April.