South West Wales

Tenby ready to welcome Ironman Wales triathlon

South Beach at Tenby
Image caption The event starts 07:00 BST on 11 September when competitors enter the sea at Tenby's South Beach for the swimming leg of the triathlon.

Many hotels and guest houses in Tenby are fully booked as the Pembrokeshire resort prepares to host the first Ironman Wales triathlon.

Up to 10,000 spectators are expected in the town and surrounding area next month to see 1,500-plus competitors.

The event is being supported with almost £500,000 Welsh Government funding for the next three years.

It is hoped it will help extend the tourism season and promote Pembrokeshire around the world.

Competitors from over 30 different countries are taking part in the challenge on 11 September that involves a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle ride before a 26.2 mile marathon - all without a break.

Ironman Wales is one of 28 events staged across the globe which qualifies athletes for the Ford Ironman World Championship held every October in Kona, Hawaii.

Alison Belton, chief executive of Pembrokeshire Tourism, which represents tourism operators in the county, said many were reporting an increase in bookings.

"Hopefully from our point of view it's not just about the event - it's about the legacy and promoting Pembrokeshire."

Jane Rees-Baynes, who runs Elm Grove Country House in St Florence, said it had been fully booked for the weekend of the event since March.

"We could have filled the hotel three times over either with competitors or people coming to support," she added.

Global series

"There's not many places left in the whole of the Tenby area."

In preparation she has attended a cookery course aimed at helping businesses in the area provide high energy meals for competitors.

"I think it's helping all parts of the local economy," she added.

The event has been secured as a result of a partnership between Pembrokeshire council, the national park authority and Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government is providing £485,000 in funding over three years and part of its drive to encourage major events to Wales.

Last year saw Newport's Celtic Manor stage golf's Ryder Cup.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "The event, which forms part of a well-established global series, will help to raise the international profile of Wales and Pembrokeshire as a major events destination and as a great place to visit.

"[It] will also provide a huge boost for the local tourism industry and a high profile platform for encouraging healthier lifestyles."

It starts at 07:00 BST when competitors enter the sea at Tenby's South Beach for the swimming leg of the triathlon.

Once out of the water they then embark on a bike ride across the whole of south Pembrokeshire from Narberth to Angle.

Road closures

The final marathon stage will be run around the Tenby and Penally area.

The county council said there would be a number of road closures for much of the day.

Notices have been posted along the road route, information leaflets delivered to the many businesses and residents and community meetings held during the build up.

A spokeswoman said: "It is inevitable that the scale of this event and the restrictions associated with it will cause an element of disruption and inconvenience.

"However where businesses and residents have contacted the council with concerns about the road closures, both Ironman Wales and Pembrokeshire council have sought to work with them to resolve any issues where it is practicable to do so without having a detrimental impact on the safety of the event."

The council has set up a has set up an interactive online map so that residents and visitors can see which areas are likely to be affected by the event and when.

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