This year’s Montgomery Canal Triathlon on 19th May was the best ever, say organisers. A total of 247 took part in one, two or three sections: 17 miles by bicycle from Newtown to Pool Quay, then 11 miles on foot to Morton, south of Oswestry, finishing with 7 miles by canoe to the Weston Arm, below Frankton Locks.

As usual, entrants had come from far and wide to take part in the Triathlon, from as far as Devon, Yorkshire and Scotland, many having taken part before, and others coming on the recommendations of family or friends.

For this, the seventh Montgomery Canal Triathlon, the cyclists were started by the Deputy Mayor of Newtown, Cllr Susan Hill, a few at a time, from 8.30am and the last had left shortly after 9 am.

The first to arrive at the finish took just over 4 hours on what was one of the warmest days that the Triathlon has experienced.

The oldest entrant was aged 72 and the youngest 2.

The organisers were delighted that Richard Parry, Chief Executive of the Canal & River Trust, was able to join the Triathlon at Pool Quay to run and canoe the second and third sections.

Christine Palin, Chairman of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, said, “This must have been the best Triathlon ever. The sun was shining which added to peoples’ enjoyment, though there were times when the shade of canalside trees was welcome.

“The event could not have taken place without the support of many volunteers who helped to set up beforehand and those who helped with marshalling on the day. We had support too from Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsburys who generously donated water and bananas to sustain the participants. We had help too from Redridge Outdoor Centre at Cefn Coch, Paradigms Management Development at Welshpool, Arthog Outreach and Newtown and Welshpool Scouts, who provided canoes so there were enough for nearly everyone who joined in.

“Perhaps the best feature of the event was that so many said they had enjoyed it very much and want to come again next year.

“The Triathlon is of course built round the fact that there is a good cycle path from Newtown to Pool Quay and that the last section has been restored and is suitable for canoes. The middle section though can only be tackled on foot and it shows the bridges that have to be rebuilt, the dry canal that has to be restored, and the section that volunteers are working on now.

“While we don’t yet know this year’s figures, last year the Friends of the Montgomery Canal were able to make a substantial donation to the ‘Restore the Montgomery Canal!’ appeal, and we hope to do so again this year. The appeal is raising funds for the next stages of restoration, and the first target is Schoolhouse Bridge, the last road blockage in Shropshire. One day, when mid-Wales is again connected to the national canal system, we shan’t need the Triathlon at all!”