TWO THOUSAND TRIATHLETES descended on Athlone over the weekend to take part in the Kinetica Olympic Distance National Championships, Paratriathlon National Championships, Sprint Distance and the beginners Try a Tri race.
In the Olympic Distance event, professional triathlete Bryan McCrystal benefited from the fast flowing River Shannon, exiting the swim in close contention. He then powered through the 40km bike leg at over 45kph and pulled out a sub 37 minute 10km run to finish in a time of 1hr 43mins.
After coming off his bike on a roundabout, Mark Nolan lost too much time and finished in second place, just over two minutes behind. He said afterwards:
“It was just a little bit greasy out there so my wheel slid out on a corner. There’s no taking it away from Bryan though. I didn’t lose too much time from the fall and he was just too strong anyway.”
Paul Carroll of the Olympian Triathlon Club got the better of Bjorn Ludick of South Africa to take the final spot on the podium.
In the women’s National Championship event, Aoife Lynch of Dublin’s Pulse Triathlon Club took the title in a time of 1hr 56min 45secs. Lynch has flown under the radar this season but performed on the big occasion. Jen Duffy was second, just 1min 15secs behind, while former World Age Group Champion, Deirdre Casey, was chased down over the 10km run and finished third.
Even more impressive were the participants of Ireland first ever Paratriathlon National Championships. While the field was small it marked an important step in the development of triathlon. The paratriathletes raced over the sprint distance of a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run. Tony Ward and Michael Delaney battled it out and got over some mechanical issues, including a broken bike chain, to cross the line together in an impressive time of 1hr 21mins 03secs. Chris Frost made the trip from the UK and was rewarded with a third place finish.
Youngster Russell White, fresh from his victory in Athy a number of weeks ago, was competing in the World University Games in Chinese Taipei. White was racing in his first Olympic distance draft legal race but produced a quick 19min 25sec 1500m swim to put himself in the lead pack going into the 40km bike leg. White entered T2 in a good position and ran strongly in 35 degree heat to finish 12th.