Entries are now coming in for the Montgomery Canal Triathlon on Saturday 20 May 2023.

This popular event is organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and brings entrants from across the country to cycle, canoe and run or hike along the canal from Newtown, mid-Wales, into Shropshire.

The Triathlon starts at Hafan Yr Afon, Open Newtown’s riverside venue in Newtown, with a 12-mile cycling section to Belan Locks, south of Welshpool. This section will include five road crossings where the canal was blocked after it was closed.

Then there will be 5½ miles by canoe through Welshpool passing through 2 locks and two reopened bridges. After leaving the canoes at Pool Quay the final 11 miles is on foot across the Welsh border to the finish at Morton, south of Oswestry. The finish this year is about 1½ miles further than in 2022 and will take entrants past Schoolhouse Bridge, Crickheath, which will be under construction, and the new section which will be under restoration by the Shropshire Union Canal Society. There will be further road crossings on this section, including bridges to be rebuilt as part of the current Levelling-Up Fund project.

Christine Palin, Chairman of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal said, “The Montgomery Canal Triathlon is one of the biggest events on the canal each year. It is a popular family event which brings entrants aged from 8 to 80 from across Great Britain and sometimes further afield. Regulars who come each year often bring friends to join in for the first time.

“The route includes sections in Powys being restored under the Government’s Levelling-Up programme, Schoolhouse Bridge, the last highway blockage in Shropshire, which will be under construction, and the canal south of Crickheath Bridge being restored by volunteers. Before reaching the finish, entrants will pass the new canal section north of Crickheath Basin which is due to be officially opened in June 2023. Our previous Triathlons have provided substantial donations to the Restore the Montgomery Canal! appeal and this in turn has supported restoration work in Powys and on the canal south from Crickheath.

“The Triathlon has had several formats since it started in 2012. Most recently, it has been a special ‘marathon’ length of about 27 miles owing to restoration works on the canal. In 2023, the Triathlon will have a format similar to 2022 but, owing to new restoration works, will be slightly longer at about 28½ miles – but still a special ‘marathon’ length.

“While we were finalising the arrangements for this year’s event we already had people queuing to join and in the short time since bookings opened we have had bookings from as far away as Manchester, Birmingham, Hertfordshire and Wiltshire as well as the local area. To make the event manageable for those taking part – and for the organisers – we do have to limit the number of people who can join, so we encourage everyone to book early.

“This is the biggest event on the canal, and we have to provide a lot of support for entrants. We have a regular team of volunteers who help with stewarding and transport, but we are always looking out for more – this could be an ideal opportunity for anyone who thinks that 28½ miles by bicycle, canoe and on foot is not for them.”

Booking is online through https://themontgomerycanal.org.uk/friends/montgomery-canal-triathlon/ .

As usual, entrants who complete any section will receive a commemorative medallion of local slate, printed in gold for entrants who complete all three sections, silver for those who complete two, and bronze if only one section is completed.

The Montgomery Canal Triathlon is organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and is supported by the Canal & River Trust. Organisers stress that the Triathlon is not a race, and entrants will have to take care both on the towpath and when crossing roads where they currently block the canal.