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Ironman Wales 2016 report and gallery




Celebrations: The winning athletes on the podium (pic. Mike Hillen)

AS PEMBROKESHIRE greeted all of the athletes at yesterday’s (Sep 18) IRONMAN Wales with the kindest of conditions and phenomenal crowds the event has seen in its 6 year history, it was USA’s Darbi Roberts and Marc Duelsen of Germany who crossed the line victorious, claiming their maiden IRONMAN wins. 

In the men’s Pro field, 2016 welcomed Phil Graves (GBR) back to IRONMAN racing. Having been focused on short course racing since 2013, Graves knew it was a lottery as to how long he was going to be able to hold off any strong charges from behind. 

Graves led from the swim with Daniel Niederreiter (AUT), closely followed by Karl Johan Danielson (SWE).  Knowing he had to make his ground on the bike, Graves made his move from the 38km marker and by the time he headed into T2 had built up a 4.5 minute lead on the chasing athletes Duelsen, Niederreiter and Nick Baldwin (SEY), who had worked his way up to 2nd place.

Marc by his own admission knew that the run was where it was make or break, having to claw back  lost ground on Graves. Finally by the 35km marker on the spectator filled run course, Duelsen had closed down the gap and with Graves unable to cling on, Duelsen steadily pulled away to cross the finish line to claim his inaugural IRONMAN in a time of 09:01:39. It was close all the way to the finish line, with just a minute separating the two and a testament to Graves true grit, having only run up to 21km in recent weeks. 

An elated Duelsen commented on his victory: “The event was really amazing – I’ve never seen such a hard bike and run course and it’s incredible to win here. I never expected to come to wales with my first podium and first victory. The crowds were the best I’ve ever seen and I’m so pleased.”

It was third time lucky for Nick Baldwin who returned to his favourite race for the 3rd consecutive year and this year didn’t disappoint, earning himself a strong podium position, whilst soaking up the indescribable atmosphere, created by the passionate Pembrokeshire spectathletes. 

In the women’s Pro race, Darbi Roberts put the pressure on early with a top swim alongside GBR’s Kate Comber, but then appeared out of contention on the bike, which was dominated by long course specialist Jeanne Collange from France, who quickly moved to the front and then seemed to disappear with a comfortable 7 minute cushion. 

Only Diana Riesler could stay in contention into T2. However half way through the challenging marathon course, Riesler pulled out through exhaustion. Meanwhile Roberts was charging through the women’s field and eventually took the lead towards the end of the last lap, crossing the line to claim her first victory in a time of 10:00:17. Collange dug deep and gave everything she had to hold onto 2nd place, while Nikki Bartlett celebrated her first IROMAN as a pro with a dream third place, also capitalising on a strong run.  
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(pics. Mike Hillen)
Darbi, flying in from home town NYC solely for today’s race, said, “I’ve been working really hard on improving my bike as I haven’t had a great season this year and it finally paid off. I felt surprisingly good on the run and am just so pleased it all came together today. The support throughout the course was the most amazing I’ve ever seen at an IRONMAN, and they definitely carried me around.”

The endless praise from all the athletes on the finish line was for the legendary crowds out on the course, from the moment they made the 1km walk through the town in darkness for the 7:10 am swim start, right through to the 17 hour cut off 12.30am. Fancy dress, home made signs, clappers and house parties, the spectator sights and sounds literally carried the athletes throughout the 140.6 mile course to the finish arch on of the iconic red carpet. 

Former Welsh Rugby internationals Ryan Jones and Ian Gough were amongst the 47% of athletes tackling an IRONMAN for the first time, having been recruited by team mate Shane Williams. 

Gough, last of the rugby trio to cross the line in an impressive time of 13:19:55 said,“That was brilliant, horrible and savage – it was a complete emotional roller coaster and think I’ve been through every emotion – I even cried! That was definitely the toughest thing I’ve ever experienced, but all the way around, the support was unbelievable. I kept seeing Shane and Ryan pass me with more lap bands than me so I knew they were ahead, but I’m really pleased to have made it across the finish line – and within my 14 hour target.” 

Amongst the 1700 competitors who started the race, were athletes of all ages between 19 – 70 who had entered for a whole variety of reasons, with many fundraising for hugely worthy causes including official charities Scope and Macmillan Cancer Research. Whilst many of the seasoned triathletes were looking for an early qualification for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship, Kona. 

Supporting the athletes out on the course as well as greeting each and everyone on the finish line was The Mayor of Tenby, Cllr Laurence Blackhall as well as Chair of Pembrokeshire County Council, Tony Brindson. 

Commenting on the finish line The Mayor of Tenby said: “What an absolutely fantastic event and it’s been brilliant to have so many people out supporting the athletes. The reality is Pembrokeshire loves IRONMAN and IRONMAN loves Pembrokeshire! We’re really glad to be the home of IRONMAN Wales.”

Kevin Stewart, Managing Director of IRONMAN UK & Ireland commented:“Once again Pembrokeshire created a stunning atmosphere for all our athletes tackling the toughest IRONMAN in the world. We‘d like to thank all of the authorities, spectators and volunteers for their continued support of the event and for their outstanding contribution towards making this event such a success for all our athletes.”
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(pics. Mike Hillen)
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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan



MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.


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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence



GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms



AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website:

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