CATHY Cunningham displayed perfect form last weekend as she powered through to finish third female overall in the Ballyshannon Lakeside Triathlon. Cunningham, who has consistently finished top of her age group in every race she has finished from 2014, put on a thrilling display of swimming, cycling and running to see off the competition behind her.
It was almost a perfect podium finish for Omagh TC, as Lorcan Healy led the men’s race through the swim and the bike, however, disappointingly, bike trouble put an end to Lorcan’s fantastic race. With the form being shown from his second place in Letterkenny, it wasn’t long before Lorcan capitalised on his success once more at Belfast.
Cathy and Lorcan were joined at the start line by fellow members – first timer Seamus Donaghy, dedicated racer Jennifer Morrow and accomplished cyclist Raymond Browne, all of whom no doubt grasped the rare opportunity to power down the Ballyshannon-Bundoran Bypass on the 20Km bike course.
On the south east end of the province on the same day, a further three members completed the Top of the Mournes Triathlon – a standard distance race of 1.km swim, 40km bike, and 10km run. The event, organised by Newry Triathlon Club, didn’t lie when they included the word ‘top’ in the race title, giving competitors an insight into the gruelling challenge ahead of them.
The swim comprised the only flat section of the course whilst the bike described by member Gerard Turbitt as ‘like cycling up the Gortin Glens for an hour’, ensured competitors were challenged both physically and mentally. Nonetheless members Gerard (2nd A/G), Chris McGuigan (2nd A/G) and Mark Daffy demonstrated great resolve by rising to the occasion to finish the event.
Slightly further afield in the stunning surrounds of the Rocky Mountains member Conor Eannetta represented the club, on his holiday no less, at Ironman 70.3 in Calgary, Alberta. Whilst most people use holiday time to unwind and rest, Conor put his body to the ultimate test just four weeks after Challenge Galway Long Distance Triathlon.
The course, which comprises the landscape used by the Winter Olympics, sees competitors take on the crystal clear waters of Auburn Bay Lake, a 56 mile cycle through the Rocky Mountains, and providing that didn’t destroy your legs, a flatter half marathon run through the stunning winding paths of Glenmore Park. It is widely acknowledged that the most difficult triathlon courses are also the most beautiful, so no doubt a rewarding event to add to Conor’s burgeoning portfolio.
Sunday saw a further National Series event take place in Belfast, at the annual Belfast Titanic Triathlon. In another rare opportunity for members to race in an urban environment, the swim, starting in the River Lagan at the Weir adjacent to the SSE Arena sees competitors take both river and tidal currents, a flat fast bike course through the Titanic Quarter and a run through the streets of Belfast city centre. Conditions were prefect in stark contrast to the torrential washout of 2015.
Lorcan Healy, put the events of Ballyshannon the previous week behind him to finish second overall, missing out on the top spot by just six seconds. Fellow OTC men that participated were: Shane McGale, Darran Lagan, Mark Daffy, John Morris, Barry McCann, Gerard Turbitt (3rd A/G), Andrew Goodwin, Padraig McDermott, Sean and Liam Curran, Dessie McAleer and Albert Law and the Sprint event Father and Son Duo Peter and Orrin McAleer and Nigel Mullan.
OTCs ladies were well-represented by: Cathy Cunningham (1st A/G), Sinead McCann (2nd A/G), Lucy McDermott and Anne Logue. Majella McCullagh in the Sprint race finished top of her age group.
All roads lead to Loughmacrory this weekend, as triathletes throughout Ireland descend on the Lough for the Annual Tri-the-Lough Sprint Triathlon and inaugural Try-a-Tri event.