There was nothing stopping Brian Crinion this weekend as he wins both Carlingford and Pulse Triathlons….although the win in Carlingford wasnt quite the walk in the park for him that Pulse was!!
On Saturday morning,200 brave athletes descended upon the beautiful village of Carlingford in the north of Co. Louth to take on the challenge of a 1000m swim(or so they thought),a 32k cycle and an 8k run.Among them were some of Irelands top athletes but for many Carlingford represented a further opportunity to test the water so to speak,and further their experience of triathlon.What we promised them was a stepping stone to Olympic distance racing,with a nice sheltered swim,a flattish,fast bike and a lovely stroll along the shore to finish.However the elements knew that triathletes were made of harder stuff than that as what we got was not a mere introduction for beginners but conditions that provided some tough times for some of the countrys elite.
The strong winds that surfaced on Saturday morning meant the swim was destined to be a battle of survival for most,with high waves and a strong current looming.As a result the swim had to be shortened to approx 700 metres for safety reasons. At the stroke of midday,the first one hundred brave souls and one even braver with just a pair of speedo’s accompaning him into a sea that can only be descided as memorable.The swim was a triangular course with the first 300 metres swimming directly into the huge waves which made sighting very dificult and breathing even harder.
Unsurprisingly,it was David Graham who exited the high seas first,confirming not even mother nature can stop this young man from dominating the swim leg of races.Graham exited the water with a two and a half minute lead over Belparks Brian Crinion who had also taken off in the first wave.However among those who posted some very fast swim splits were Pulse’s young hotshots of Eoin Mc Donnell and Darren Hughes who were flying the flag for the wave 2 swimmers.
Out on to the bike and Brian Crinion was chasing hard,eager to make the most of his strength on the bike and like many of the other 200 athletes was feeling the benefit of a strong tailwind on the way out of Carlingford.Turning right and heading for Dundalk, the bike course was relatively fast on the way out to the turnaround point with a few small hills to negotiate and some strong crosswinds present on some of the more open sections of the road.On the inward section of the bike,it was a similar story with the blustering wind only a factor on small sections.However on turning to head back towards Carlingford,the tailwind we had earlier benefited from was now determined to seperate the men from the boys as the final 4kms of the bike made many of the already weary athletes question the sanity of this sport.
It was on this last section of the bike that Crinion finally caught David Graham,who himself was highly impressive posting the fourth fastest bike split of the day,but just wasn’t enough to hold off Crinion who was to take a small lead into T2.Next into T2 was local boy Liam Dolan who exited the water in 35th position but didn’t disappoint on the bike as he made a mockery of the tough conditions to blast through the bike section passing some fine athletes such as Peter Savage,Oliver Harkin and Brian Farrell from Belpark who arrived into T2 in fourth place with Savage and Harkin not far behind.
The run was an out and back course along the shore but with heavy legs and thoughts of the approching finishing line,not many of us took the time to appreciate the beautiful scenery around us. At the business end of things,David Graham had worked extremely hard to catch Crinion on the first section of the run and it was anyones guess as to who would take the victory.Graham attacked with 4k to go and managed to open a small gap but with Brian Crinions experience in the sport,he worked his way back up to Graham and with the strong wind making the last few kms tough going ,both men ran shoulder to shoulder until they turned the corner at the sailing club and from there it was a sprint finish with Crinion just taking the victory and denying David Graham by the smallest of margins.Following soon after was Setanta’s Liam Dolan who solidified his position with a very fast run,managing to hold off the chasing few of Brian Farrell,who finished fourth,and the fast finishing Peter Savage who put in the 3rd fastest run of the day to take 5th place overall.
In the womens race,things were not quite as close as Trudy Brown dominated from the start and for the other ladies present it was a battle of the best of the rest to take second.After posting a great swim time and a blistering bike split,Trudy could afford to cruise home on the run with Anne Paul taking second place 5 mins later and Karen Bothwell completing the top 3.
This was the first year of the Carlingford Triathlon under the leadership of Setanta Triathlon Club and we hope that in the coming years we can establish it as a major race on the TI calender as we have always felt it has the potential to be major race and something which can attract even more of Irelands top athletes.
A call has been made and mother nature assures us that next year we can book a calm sea and have the wind turned off!!Seriously though we would like to thank those of you who braved the rough conditions yesterday and made it a success.We hope you all enjoyed it and will feel the benefit of it in some major events coming up.
Best of luck to all.
Setanta Triathlon Club. Results
Pulse Triathlon Club held their first triathlon in Golden Falls lake in Blessington today and it was a great success. The recent wintery weather held off and the sun came out for the event although there was still a slight chill in the air. The race went off in 3 waves with the crowds counting down the start for each wave. The 750 metre swim went off pretty smoothly but competitors were faced with a rather lengthy and steep run to transition, for the stronger runners this was a great opportunity to get ahead of the stronger swimmers - some athletes pounding their way up the hill, others crawling…
Colm Turner was entered for todays race but a fall off the bike last week resulted in a broken collar bone sadly ending this season for Colm who enjoyed a great win, beating Brian Crinion in Bray triathlon last month. There has also been an increase in strong swimmers this year, many of whom are new to the sport and with this winter to improve on the bike and run, next year the competition will be tougher than ever
Niall Callanan was first out of the water followed by Fernando Fuentes and Peter Kern, Fearghal Mulvihill and Mark Reisely. Brian Crinion was 11th out , Crinion made up great time on the bike and was back into transition over a minute ahead of Kern and Reisely. A quick 35 seconds in transition and Crinion went out on the run. He put in a hard run for the first 2.5km before relaxing slightly and taking it home in 59:34. Reisley had made some time on Kern on the bike and the two stayed close on the run, Kern leading by only a few seconds, Kern looked set for 2nd place when he stopped just before the finish line, waited for Reisley and the two crossed the line together for joint second….now thats friendship!
...could Crinion not have waited and made it joint first for the three?!!
There were plenty of ladies out on the course today. Noelle McDonald was first out of the water. Katharina Baldinger was over 2 mins behind but she is savage on the bike and put in a split of 32.14, 24th overall, she stayed strong on the run to win the ladies race and finish overall in 19th place, a very impressive result, Ailbhe Healy, Sharon Dolan, Orla Power and Keira Eva Mooney all put in very strong performances. Ailbhe Healy finished 2nd and Sharon Dolan in third.
There was a great atmosphere at the race and lots of support, the prizegiving took place in Avon Ri leisure centre and it was great to see so many people stick around for it.
Well done to Pulse Triathlon Club for a great debut and to everyone who was involved behind the scenes.
Brian Crinion 59:34
Mark Reisely 1:00.45
Peter Kern 1:00.45
Katharina Baldinger 1:09.47
Ailbhe Healy 1:12.44
Sharon Dolan 1:13.55
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