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IRONMAN WALES 2023: Midway Progress Report

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THIS MORNING, North Beach in Tenby witnessed over 3,000 determined athletes as they launched into the gruelling Ironman triathlon, touted as one of the harshest endurance tests humanity has devised.

These undaunted souls set out to conquer a challenging 2.4-mile sea swim, navigate the formidable elevations of a 112-mile bike ride across Pembrokeshire, and finally, run a full marathon, all within a daunting 17-hour window. Tenby’s course has earned a reputation, not just for its challenging terrain but its sheer beauty – captivating yet ruthless, enticing many a seasoned athlete only to break their spirit against the undulating hills of Pembrokeshire.

Photo by Huw Fairclough for IRONMAN UK/HERALD

Yet, what truly sets Ironman Wales apart is not the demanding course or even the breathtaking vistas. It’s the unyielding spirit of the local community. Long gone are Tenby’s days as a mere stag and hen party haven; the Ironman event has reshaped its image, a transformation you can delve into in our special feature.

Regrettably, the day did not unfold without its share of heartbreak. Former Wales rugby champion, Alix Popham, endured a tragic twist of fate. After months of arduous training to raise awareness for concussion education, Popham was forced to withdraw early due to a suspected concussion – the result of an inadvertent kick to his head during the swim. Lobby group Progressive Rugby later confirmed his hospitalisation.

However, amidst the challenges, tales of resilience abound. Notably, Michael McAleavey, who after a 2017 Ironman attempt was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, has made a triumphant return this year. Likewise, Michael Lane, a survivor of both a heart attack and thyroid cancer in 2021, is here to make a mark, having already completed three IRONMAN 70.3 races last year.

Photo by Huw Fairclough for IRONMAN UK/HERALD

The spirit of the event was vividly captured in photographs, from the exhilarating beginning at North Beach to the fervour of the crowds. The competition has seen overwhelming local participation, with scenes from the bike ride showcasing unmatched support from the sidelines. Social media, too, has been abuzz, reflecting the anticipation and passion associated with the event.

As the day unfolds, we continue to monitor the progress of these awe-inspiring athletes and wish them the best. From the scenic streets of Tenby, for now, it’s a blend of anticipation, courage, and indomitable spirit that rules the day.

Photo by Huw Fairclough for IRONMAN UK

Entertainment

Save the dates: Classic car shows in Pembrokeshire

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THE FIRST of the Summer season of the Classic Car Shows in aid of the Paul Sartori Foundation took place at the Commons Car Park, Pembroke recently.

Organised by Malcom Powell and friends, the show was opened by the Mayor of Pembroke, Ann Mortenson, accompanied by the Ward Ten Withybush fundraiser Ellie Neville.

The rest of the shows are follows

Wednesday 5th June at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 19th June at the Plough Inn, Sageston

Wednesday 3rd July at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 17th July at the Plough Inn, Sageston

Wednesday 14th August at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 18th August at the Plough Inn

All events are at 4pm, except for the final show of the year on Saturday 14th September at the Plough Inn Sageston which starts at 2 30pm.

Pictured is the first show of the year at the Commons,Pembroke.

Pic-Martin Cavaney

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Charity

Royal celebration at Buckingham Palace marks RNLI’s 200th anniversary

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HIS MAJESTY The King has graciously hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace today to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). This prestigious event brought together approximately 2,500 of the RNLI’s dedicated volunteers, staff, and their families.

The garden party, held in the palace’s magnificent grounds, was marked by the presence of an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, showcasing the RNLI’s modern lifesaving capabilities. The event celebrated the remarkable history and ongoing contributions of the RNLI, which has been saving lives at sea since its founding in 1824.

Among those honoured at the event were representatives from Tenby Lifeboat Station and St Davids Lifeboat Station. From Tenby, the delegation included recently retired Coxswain Philip John, along with Michael Lewis, Daniel Young, Graham Waring, and Peter O’Hagan, all accompanied by their partners. Representing St Davids Lifeboat Station were Will Chant, Jestyn Martin, Ffion Rees, Judd Kohler, Ellen Evans, and their respective partners. These individuals were recognised for their exceptional service and dedication to the institution, trading their RNLI yellows for smart attire on this special occasion.

The RNLI, established in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, has grown into a vital organisation dedicated to saving lives at sea. Over its two centuries of operation, the RNLI has saved more than 142,700 lives, thanks to the bravery and commitment of its volunteers and staff. Today, the RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations and provides a 24-hour search and rescue service around the coasts of the UK and Ireland.

His Majesty’s patronage and the garden party at Buckingham Palace underscore the nation’s deep appreciation for the RNLI’s invaluable service. The celebration not only honoured past achievements but also highlighted the continued importance of the RNLI’s mission as it looks forward to the future.

For more information on the RNLI’s history and its bicentenary celebrations, please visit the official RNLI website.

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Community

The Big Beer Festival returns to Milford Waterfront

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MILFORD HAVEN is set to host the highly anticipated Big Beer Festival tomorrow at Milford Waterfront. Beginning at 12:00 PM on May 25, the event promises a vibrant celebration featuring an impressive array of real ales, lagers, and ciders, along with a prosecco and Pimm’s bar for those with different tastes.

Local bands will provide live music throughout the day, ensuring a lively atmosphere. Headline act 4th Street will be among the performers, with additional acts including After the Fire, Steve Bartram, Two Suns, Tin Man Revolution, and DJ Robzy. Food lovers can enjoy diverse culinary offerings from The Junkyard Dog and Marcela Mexican Cuisine at the Thornton Motors Streetfood Zone. Entry is £20, which includes four drink tokens and a limited edition glass. Each token can be exchanged for a half pint, a glass of prosecco, or a glass of Pimm’s. The festival will run until 11:00 PM.

This event is part of the continued partnership between Milford Waterfront and the Milford Haven Round Table. This collaboration supports a calendar of events throughout the year, raising funds for local causes and creating enjoyable experiences for the community and visitors. Upcoming events include the Milford Haven Carnival on July 6 and the Fireworks Extravaganza on November 5.

As well as local petrol station company The Ascona Group, Howden, a global insurance intermediary group, is a key supporter of the festival. As a deluxe sponsor, Howden is donating £500 towards the event. Gary Stevens, Regional Managing Director, expressed his delight in supporting the Milford Haven Round Table, emphasizing the event’s significance as a fantastic day out for the bank holiday weekend and a means to support the local community.

Milford Haven Round Table, the UK’s largest Round Table with 30 active members, organizes this festival to give back to the local community. All funds raised support local charities, groups, and individuals, including popular free entry events like the town’s annual carnival and fireworks display.

For more details, visit the official event page.

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