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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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Reminder from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to pre-book for attractions

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MEMBERS of the public are being reminded to pre-book their entry tickets before visiting two popular National Park Authority-run attractions.

To allow for social distancing on site, both Carew Castle and Tidal Mill and Castell Henllys Iron Age Village have been operating a pre-booking system since last summer.

Those wishing to visit should book their tickets online before arriving at the site. This applies to Annual Pass holders and others who qualify for free entry, such as wheelchair users and accompanying carers.

Carew Castle is open to pre-booked visitors between 10am and 4pm (Tidal Mill 11.30am – 5pm), while those wishing to visit Castell Henllys will be asked to book either a morning slot (10am-1pm) or an afternoon slot (2pm-5pm) before visiting the site.

Daisy Hughes, Visitor Services Manager at Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, said: “Over the past 12 months, we have made some changes to the site and how we operate to ensure that we keep you, our staff and our local community safe.

“All areas of the Castle and Tidal Mill are open, including the Walled Garden and play area. Nest Tearoom, which has plenty of outdoor undercover seating, will be serving light lunches and homemade cakes along with hot and cold drinks throughout the day, and the Castle and Mill Shops remain open – although face coverings must be worn and only card/contactless payments are currently being accepted.

“With the exception of Nest Tearoom, pre-booking is essential, though, and we’re asking all visitors to make sure they book their entry tickets in advance, in order to avoid any delays or disappointment when they arrive on site.”

Entry tickets for both Carew Castle and Castell Henllys can be purchased by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/events

A dynamic programme of events suitable for all the family will be running at both sites throughout the summer months. Visit the above website for more information and to book tickets.

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Salvage Hunters: New series is filming in Pembrokeshire, and they need help

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SALVAGE HUNTERS, the well-loved and most watched Quest TV and Discovery Network show, is on the hunt for locations to film at in the Pembrokeshire and the wider South West Wales area to feature in the upcoming series.

We follow decorative antiques expert Drew Pritchard as he travels around various locations in the UK and abroad on his quest to find and buy unusual objects with an interesting history.

Drew really visits everywhere – beautiful estates, old family businesses, barns and attic’s stuffed full of unwanted things, museums, factories, collectors and iconic religious sites buying all sorts along the way – from gorgeous country house furniture and railwayana to 6ft 1980s disco balls and anything in-between.

Now in its sixteenth series and airing to over half a million people in the UK and millions more worldwide, this is a great opportunity for you to promote your business or home to a broad audience, sell a few items that perhaps you no longer need, make some money and celebrate the history and heritage of the UK.

If you think you fit the bill or know somebody that might then please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with a member of our team.

Call us on 0203 179 0092 or alternatively send us an email to – salvagehunters@curvemedia.com

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Haverfordwest and Cardigan high streets listed as among the ten worst in Britain

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TWO west Wales high streets have been listed in a UK wide report detailing Britain’s worst high streets.

In the highly respected report Cardigan High Street has been listed as the 4th worst in Britain, whilst Haverfordwest has come 8th.

The Harper Dennis Hobbs rankings, which come out every two years, in sadly listed six Welsh High Streets in the worst 10 category.

Some retail centres have performed well since 2019 but most Welsh towns have fallen down the list.

Overall the performance in Wales was poor with a major drop in the average position of Welsh high streets on the UK list.

More shops in Haverfordwest’s town centre have closed since the coronavirus hit (Pic: File image)

The average rank was 797 – the worst of any nation and region in the UK, showing the huge challenge Welsh Government has to revive town centres. Six of the bottom ten UK high streets were in Wales.

Normally Harper Dennis Hobbs releases the full ranking but when the firm published its 2021 report in February, it only made the top 50 best-performing locations publicly available. Now, a copy of the full list shared with i lays bare the shopping centres and high streets that have fared worst over the past year.

Top of the worst list is Girvan in South Ayrshire.

Girvan is home to around 6,500 people and has suffered the same difficulties as many cities and towns across the UK when it comes to its high street’s declining appeal – but it is the area’s “very weak retail offer” and the large number of empty shops that helped seal its place at the bottom of the league table.

Haverfordwest in 2014. can you spot any differences to now?

“Girvan along with Haverfordwest and Cardigan all scored poorly due to a very weak retail offer [and] the towns have a relatively high vacancy rate,” said Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs.

Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at HDH, explained: “Our analysis is unique as we use variables that both consumers and retailers consider when assessing shopping locations to rank the top 1,000 retail centres in Great Britain. This Vitality Ranking looks very different from previous years as the ‘retail health’ of high streets across the country has seen contrasting fortunes since the start of the pandemic.

“The most vital retail centres currently provide services that are essential to people’s lives, such as grocers and pharmacies. These essential retailers have been able to trade throughout the strictest lockdowns, and consumers have not been willing or able to travel far to visit these stores. Shopping patterns have therefore changed significantly since the start of the pandemic, and consumers’ local high streets are benefitting at the expense of major destinations.”

Turning empty retail spaces in the town into homes or offices could help rejuvenate the area and bring “demand to the doors” of shops that survive, Mr Metherell said.

Cardigan High Street before Covid-19 (Pic Stay In Wales)

Top 10 best high streets 2021

  1. Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
  2. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
  3. Tenterden, Kent
  4. Wimbledon Village, south-west London
  5. Marlborough, Wiltshire
  6. Sevenoaks, Kent
  7. Kingston upon Thames, Greater London
  8. Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
  9. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
  10. Ilkley, Bradford

Top 10 worst high streets 2021

  1. Girvan, South Ayrshire
  2. Bristol – Baldwin Street
  3. Chepstow, Monmouthshire
  4. Cardigan, Ceredigion
  5. Southsea, Portsmouth
  6. Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  7. Ammanford, Carmarthenshire
  8. Haverfordwest, Permbrokeshire
  9. Canning Town, east London
  10. Newtown, Powys

(Source: Harper Dennis Hobbs)

Cardigan High Street pictured in the early 2000’s before Currys left town (Pic Geograph)
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