AS is often the case in triathlon, beautiful breath-taking scenery leads to challenging courses, and the Lost Sheep Triathlon was no exception.
Race organisers, Cork Triathlon Club, describe the event as one ‘since its inception in 2003 that has gained a reputation both nationally and internationally as the toughest half iron distance race on the Irish triathlon circuit’.
The 1,900m swim, the only ‘flat’ part of the course, took place in Kenmare Bay. The 83 Km bike route, straddling both Kerry and Cork, consists of two category one climbs with a total of 768 metres of climbing over the Caha Mountains. If competitors didn’t quite punish their legs enough, the half marathon run was no flat affair.
Peter McAleer had a tremendous race to power home in a superb time of 5:40:28 and husband and wife duo Padraig McDermott and Lucy McDermott celebrated their wedding anniversary in true Omagh Triathlon Club style, finishing in 6:22:10.
It has been said that difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. Fearmanagh is no exception – a multidisciplinary event incorporating a series of cycles and runs with a kayak in Lower Lough Erne to contend with means that the often picturesque setting of west Fermanagh can show its true rugged brutality when competition beckons.
There were two routes available for participants. Both routes consist of a mix of running, kayaking and cycling with the longer 74K route and the shorter 35K route. Three brave OTC members accepted the gauntlet laid down before them, despite the driving winds creating dangerous winds on Lough Erne leading to a cancelled canoe section.
This section, which usally provided a brief reprieve meant that participants had to descend the Magho Cliffs (a decent of 300m over 1 km), turn and commence the brutal climb to the top.
Colin Harkness and Michael Phillips both performed well over the 35 Km course to both finish within the top 30. Maeve McKenna, whose strength and stamina paid off over the 74 Km to earn her second spot on the podium, this, despite having to change a flat tyre.
FULL REPORT IN YESTERDAY’S ULSTER HERALD…