RUNNING LEGEND SONIA O’Sullivan turned her hand to triathlon at the weekend and took part in the Monkstown sprint distance triathlon in Co. Cork.
O’Sullivan committed to the challenge after meeting elite triathletes Aileen Morrison and Gavin Noble at their pre-Olympics training base in Lensbury last year.
The expert advice paid off, with O’Sullivan finishing second in a time of 1hr 17min 6secs. It will come as no surprise that she had the fastest run of the day in 19mins 34secs on an extremely tough course.
Seasoned triathlete, Andree Walkin, won the women’s event in 1hr 10mins 56secs, thanks to a strong showing in all three disciplines.
While Aileen Morrison, Gavin Noble and most recently, Sonia O’Sullivan, are leading the charge with the shorter distance triathlons, Ireland’s long distance triathletes are also making a name for themselves on the international scene.
The iron lady
Eimear Mullan from Portstewart in Northern Ireland has been carving out a career as a professional long distance triathlete over the past two years, enjoying a number of podium finishes. Her best result yet came at the weekend at the Ironman UK 70.3, where she beat off stiff competition to win in a time of 4hr 53min 53sec.
Mullan swam the 1.9km in 28min 24 secs, produced the fastest 90km bike split of the day in 2hr 53min 38secs and ran the half marathon in a time of 1hr 27min 16secs to give her a three-minute winning margin.
The result qualifies Mullan for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, which take place in the heat of Las Vegas on the 9th of September.
There was also domestic action in Dunmore East on Saturday, where Ireland’s top age group athletes were battling it out for Vodafone National Series points. Cork Triathlon Club’s Trevor Woods took victory in a thrilling sprint finish a mere second ahead of Brian McCrystal. Shane Scully of Nenagh Triathlon Club was third.
For the ladies Marie Boland used her strong bike – run combo to claim yet another victory ahead of Barbara O’Hanrahan in second and Ellen Murphy third.