THE final preparations are being made ahead of the hugely-popular Montgomery Canal Triathlon, which will see 140 competitors take part on Saturday, May 7.

Entrants into the triathlon, organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, will take on 12 miles of cycling 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.

Organisers are warning visitors and canal users the towpath will be busy on the cycling and walking sections and at two locks the canoeists will be negotiating, and that cyclists and walkers will be crossing roads where the canal is blocked.

Christine Palin, chairman of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal said they are hoping that visitors and walkers will join in cheering the competitors on.

She said: "The Montgomery Canal Triathlon is known for its friendliness both by athletes and by the families who take part for fun.

"We go to great lengths to provide facilities for people taking part – with canoe hire, return transport and nearly a 100 volunteer stewards – and they tell us our event is one of the best from that point of view.

“This year’s event, our 10th anniversary Triathlon, is back to normal after the interruptions of the last couple of years and repeats last year’s course to finish at Crickheath near Oswestry.

“While many entrants come from Wales and Shropshire, others are coming from the West Midlands, the UK as well as France and Australia.

“The triathlon is the biggest event on the Montgomery Canal and shows all that this special canal has to offer, as well as the terrific border country it runs through.

“The exciting thing is that thanks to a government grant of nearly £15 million we expect work to start soon on the section south of Llanymynech and on Schoolhouse Bridge at Crickheath, the last road blockage in Shropshire, where the event finishes.

“As well as showing off the canal and our border countryside, the triathlon is a great fund-raiser for future restoration.

"The emphasis this year is on Schoolhouse Bridge, which is the subject of our latest fund-raising appeal supported by Timothy West and Prunella Scales where each £1 we raise is being matched by an anonymous supporter.

"We are always keen to collect more donations through our website"