Police have issued safety advice to people planning to visit Pembrokeshire this weekend for what would have been Ironman Wales.
This year’s triathlon, due to be held in and around Tenby on Sunday, has been cancelled because of coronavirus.
However, some of the 2,000 athletes due to compete still intend to visit, Dyfed-Powys Police said.
Organisers have urged those who are still travelling to the town to act with “respect and consideration”.
It comes as a duathlon has been allowed to go ahead in Carmarthenshire on Sunday as a trial to see if outdoor events can be carried out safely.
But the number of potential visitors to Tenby has raised fears of over-crowding on the roads and in the sea, with some villagers urging people to “stay away”.
Pembrokeshire has hosted the event, billed as one of the world’s toughest endurance races, since 2011 and it is estimated to be worth £3.7m to the local economy every year.
While competitors have been able to defer entry to next year’s event, some still intend to visit the seaside town this weekend.
Dyfed-Powys Police and Pembrokeshire council said they were concerned people intended to swim, cycle and run the 140-mile course.
“We’re aware some people are planning to travel to Tenby to race the Ironman route this weekend,” the force said.
“While we understand people have trained really hard to compete and are disappointed the race is cancelled, we are concerned about the impact of racing without any road closures or the usual support.”
That concern has been shared by local people on social media, including Angela Harries, who wrote: “It’s a race putting your lives at risk as well as danger to road users.”
Another, Kirsty-Leigh Rees, added: “[It] was cancelled for safety reasons, do you think us locals want people from all over the UK coming here still?
“It’s [one] event, will be back next year! Why can’t people wait and jog, cycle and swim in their own areas?!”
However, some people said they still intend to visit, having paid up to £800 for accommodation without the option of a refund, and denied cyclists would be racing.
Spencer Lawrence, wrote: “You can’t blame people for still wanting to come down to such an amazing town as Tenby.
“Those that cycle will be heading out at different times on different days… better than being in shops or crowded promenades from a covid point of view.
“They will [also] be bringing much-needed money to the local economy.”
Police have urged cyclists not to ride in large groups, for runners to consider social distancing and for swimmers to check sea conditions.
Declan Byrne, regional director for Ironman UK and Ireland said: “We are disappointed not to be hosting Ironman Wales in Tenby for our 10th anniversary this year and appreciate the support and positivity the Tenby and Pembrokeshire community has shown towards the event.
“We urge athletes who have decided to travel to Tenby as visitors this weekend, to act with respect and consideration and with the safety of the community in mind.”
Meanwhile, Pembrey County Park in Carmarthenshire will host a duathlon on Sunday with competitor numbers limited to 100, no spectators and staggered starts.
Return to Racing is one of three outdoor events First Minister Mark Drakeford announced could go ahead as a trial to see if they could be carried out in a “safe way” while maintaining social distancing.
The trial will also see outdoor performances run by Theatr Clwyd, in Flintshire, and a car rally at Trac Mon, on Anglesey.
It will be professional triathlete Liam Lloyd’s first competition of this year.
Mr Lloyd, from Llanelli, said: “To have no events at all has been strange but I’m excited to race on the doorstep – it’s the end of the season so it’s nice to put something in, see people you haven’t seen for a while and compete in an event which you’d normally be doing week in, week out.”
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths, said: “We’re delighted to host this trial event here in Carmarthenshire, and hope this signals a return of more sporting events in the future.
“Our teams are working alongside Welsh Government and Welsh Triathlon to ensure that the event is safe and secure whilst providing an exciting and challenging duathlon course for competitors.”
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe