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Athletes gearing up for tough event

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PEMBROKE 2WITH only a couple of days to go, athletes are preparing themselves for one of the toughest endurance events ever.

The 2013 IronMan triathlon takes place this Sunday and while the Pro field will be looking for qualifying points towards their Kona Pro rankings as well as battling it out for the $25,000 prize fund, all of the athletes will be completing the same course and hoping to cross the finish line within the 17 hour time limit and the goal they’ve worked so hard for, to gain the Ironman badge of glory.

The last two triathlons have been hugely successful and this year’s race is once again being held in and around Tenby.

Athletes have to train vigorously for this event and it could take up to nine months before you can consider yourself ready for an IronMan triathlon.

The triathlon is a gruelling competition with competitors having to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles before running a complete 26.2 mile marathon – all without a break. It is also the longest of the different types of triathlon.

TENBY 18Compared to the Olympics, the athletes this weekend will be competing over a much greater distance. Last year saw Alistair Brownlee and Jonathon Brownlee take Gold and Bronze respectively but they competed over a shorter distance.

The Olympic athletes had to swim for just under a mile, cycle 25 miles and run for 6.2 miles.

The IronMan athletes have to travel a lot further and have put in hours of dedication just to be ready for the race this Sunday.

Last year approximately 1,500 athletes, representing more than 40 countries turned up to take part and this year’s event is set to be even bigger.

Just over 1,600 athletes are taking part this year and the ages of those taking part ranges from the youngest at 18 to the oldest at 74 years old. Over 10,000 spectators are also expected to visit the area to cheer them on.

The resort of Tenby offers some spectacular views making it an ideal place to hold the race.

The swim course for Ironman Wales takes place on the beautiful North Beach in Tenby and consists of a two loop course totalling 3.8k in distance.

The bike course consists of a two loop course totalling 180 kilometres of spectacular coastal views through idyllic towns giving riders over 2,000 metres of altitude difference throughout the course.

The first loop is longer, extending west from Lamphey to Angle peninsula and Pembroke, returning through Lamphey before turning north through Carew and Templeton to reach Narberth.  From Narberth the course travels south through Saundersfoot to return to Tenby via St Brides Hill.

On the second lap, cyclists turn east in Lamphey to repeat the same route through Narberth and Saundersfoot to reach the transition point in Tenby.

Finally, the marathon course takes place in and around the picturesque town of Tenby. Exiting the transition along South Cliff Street, turning left onto South Parade skirting the town wall, travelling north towards New Hedges. It returns on the same route but continues into the heart of this historic town, taking in The Croft and the harbour.

The course is a four loop run, each loop consisting of just over 10 kilometres of running, before swinging left onto Tenby’s Esplanade to reach the finish line making up the full distance.

Residents are warned that some roads will be closed throughout the day to ensure that the event runs smoothly.

Pembrokeshire County Council has set up an interactive online map so that visitors and residents can see which roads are likely to be affected by the event and when.

Live Facebook and Twitter feeds will also be streamed on the day to keep people updated on road closures/openings, incidents and race information.

The event will also be given worldwide TV coverage and the intense nature of the sport is likely to attract a good audience.

“We have been thrilled at the turnouts over the last two years for Ironman Wales and hope that this year’s event will be equally, if not more, successful,” said Deputy Leader, Councillor Rob Lewis.

“Ironman Wales is now recognized by the Welsh Government as one of the most iconic events held in the country,” he said.

“It gives us a wonderful opportunity to put our county on the tourist map as host of one of the biggest – and also one of the most arduous – sporting events in the world.

“Those of us who live here know how beautiful Pembrokeshire is and with this event being given worldwide TV coverage we have a great opportunity to advertise it across the globe.”

The event starts at 7am when competitors enter the sea at North Beach for the swimming leg of the triathlon. Once out of the water they then embark on a bike ride across the south of the county – following the route of last year’s event – before the final marathon stage through Tenby.

Councillor Lewis said that because of the nature of the event there was likely to be a gap in time between the first entrants home and the last, necessitating road closures for much of the day in some areas.

“However I hope that residents will bear with us and give the event their full support,” he said.

To find the digital map, log onto the Council’s dedicated Ironman website: www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/ironman then go into Race Day Travel. The ironmanwales.com website also has details of access routes around the course.

The competition is set to be fierce and is not for the faint hearted but IronMan Wales 2013 is not one to be missed.

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One arrest following disturbance inside Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre

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THERE was a large police presence at Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre on Tuesday afternoon, after what police are describing as a ‘disturbance involving a small group of people.’

The emergency call went out at lunch time, and thirteen police vehicles responded to the incident, a resident of Penally confirmed.

It is understood that the person arrested is a male asylum seeker staying at the former army training camp.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Herald in an emailed statement: “We were called to a disturbance involving a small group of people within the Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre at around 1.45pm on Tuesday (Oct 20).

“One person has been arrested.

“The investigation is ongoing.”

Our reporter was at the scene just after 7pm on Tuesday and the area was quiet.

There was no visible police presence remaining outside the former army camp, and just a handful of protestors outside the main gate.

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Follow lockdown rules, public leaders in Pembrokeshire urge

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PULBIC leaders in Pembrokeshire are urging people to comply with the latest measures introduced by the Welsh Government under its ‘firebreak’ scheme.

Councillors David Simpson and Paul Harries – Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council and Chairman of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority respectively – have echoed the sentiments of First Minister Mark Drakeford’s “come together” call.

“It is imperative for the safety of all of us that we follow the regulations which come into effect on Friday” Councillor Simpson emphasised.

“Although the number of coronavirus cases in Pembrokeshire is relatively low compared with other areas across the nation, the figures here are on the rise. Undoubtedly measures would have to be taken sooner or later in our county to halt that increase.

“The thinking is that introducing a 17-day long ‘firebreak’ now and across the nation will slow the spread of the virus and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases.

“This could potentially prevent hundreds of deaths.

“So I appeal to everyone to comply with the restrictions being introduced and follow the safety advice of wearing face coverings in confined public spaces, observe social distancing and regularly wash your hands.

Councillor Paul Harries said : “We appreciate that people will want to access the National Park and the outdoors more than ever as we head into the firebreak lockdown, but we are asking people to follow the guidance and only exercise from home, whilst following the Countryside Code.

“We understand that the restrictions are challenging for people, but keeping Pembrokeshire safe is our utmost priority and we will do all we can to support Welsh Government in following the guidance.

“When the time is right we look forward to welcoming visitors back to Pembrokeshire and most importantly doing this at a time when we can keep everyone safe. For now, we urge everyone to follow the firebreak guidance and stay home to stay safe.”

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions go to: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-circuit-break-frequently-asked-questions

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Pembrokeshire lockdown ‘disproportionate’ as cases locally were below trigger-point

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PEMBROKESHIRE was plunged into the Welsh Government’s ‘fire-break’ lockdown even though the County does not meet the criteria for a local lockdown.

The Welsh Government’s Technical Advisory Cell, which advises it on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, published the information and data relied upon to support the lockdown on Monday, October 19.

The paper highlights that Wales has crossed the threshold of circuit breakers agreed ahead of summer’s easing of restrictions. It expresses high confidence that others will be breached in the next 2-3 weeks.

It states: ‘The Welsh Government aim of protecting both lives and livelihoods requires a balancing of harms, and action is now required to maintain the balance’.

However, Pembrokeshire – along with Ceredigion and Powys – are below the threshold for restrictions’ imposition. Pembrokeshire, in particular, not only has a low incidence of cases but also consistently low positive tests.

Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament and Senedd Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, called the lockdown “not-proportionate”

He said: “The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.”

In Pembrokeshire, there are 33 cases per 100,000 of population. In Cardiff, that figure exceeds 250 per 100,000. When the Welsh Government imposed local and hyperlocal lockdowns in other local authority areas, the basis for imposing them was a persistent and rising infection rate over 50 per hundred thousand.

In Carmarthenshire, the number of cases had begun to decline following the local lockdown in Llanelli.

In Ceredigion, the rate per 100,000 of population is even lower than in Pembrokeshire.

All Welsh local authorities are above 5% positivity, apart from Pembrokeshire (3.7%).

The rate of incidence is rising fastest in over-60s.

Pressed on why the Welsh Government imposed a national lockdown at a press conference on Monday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said controlling the virus’ spread was a national priority and that the Welsh Government had taken into account a shortage of intensive care beds in all areas of Wales.

Although the number of COVID cases in hospital is not above expectations, because of underlying critical care needs there is an insufficient number of critical care beds and/or staff to handle a large COVID outbreak, and maintain existing non-COVID intensive care treatments.

The Welsh Government is also contending with a critical shortage of Intensive Care staff as it approaches its busiest period of the year.

The Welsh Government faces an avalanche of criticism from business groups and Conservatives who claim that while a lockdown might be the only option in urban areas in South Wales and North

East Wales, there is no need for one across rural Wales, where local economies took a massive hit from the loss of tourism during the summer season.

Stephen Crabb MP said: “The scientific evidence for so-called circuit-break or firebreak lockdowns is pretty weak. When it comes to locking down Pembrokeshire and other parts of Wales where rates of infection are low, I think the Welsh Government have not made a very strong case at all.

“Local people have worked incredibly hard to follow rules and keep infections low but we are now paying the price for the fact that Welsh Government lost control of the virus in the Valleys and South East Wales.”

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