Race report from Miriam Wall from This Year's Kilkee Triathlon

Photo Credit - Gordon Thompson - More of Gordon's great photographs can be viewed at

For those of you not familiar with the triathlon scene the ‘Hell of the West’ or the Kilkee Triathlon is the highlight of the race calendar for Olympic distance triathlons in Ireland. It is reported to be one of the toughest courses. The 1.5k sea swim is followed by a 45km bike ride over undulating terrain and a 10km run (the first 5km of which is up a cliff).

When you are going to a running race all you need is your race number and runners (and clothes I suppose!). When you pack for a triathlon the list is endless (goggles, swim hat, tri-suit, wetsuit, body glide, towel, watch, helmet, bike, drinks for bike, food/gels, socks, bike shoes, pump, spare bicycle tube, sunglasses, runners with elastic laces and race belt). Sometimes by the time I have packed the car I feel I have already done a race.

This year I had to travel to and from Kilkee on race day as my husband was away. So I got up at 5.45 am to eat my porridge and put on sun cream . I always put on sun cream first thing regardless of the weather. It is one less thing to worry about half an hour before the race begins. At 6.50 I left my children with my friend Jenny(thanks Jenny) for the day.

Miriam In The Water

Miriam In The Water

By 7:00 am I was on the road and looking forward to the day. The weather was beautiful. By 9:00 am I was in Kilkee and met my friends. We asked ourselves the same question we always ask, "Why do we do this to ourselves?" Myself and Ruth went for a quick cycle to make sure our bikes were working. I went to the transition area to set up my bike and gear. I laid out my bike shoes (Velcro open and ready to put on), runners, socks and towel (to wipe any grit of sand off feet). The transition from one leg to the next should be fast. Time lost in transition is a waste of energy and usually cannot be made up again.

A lot of people from the Galway Triathlon Club race in Kilkee so there is always a great buzz before the race. The sun was shining , the sea was calm and everyone was happy. My goal for the race was to try and do a good bike leg. I did a terrible race the year before and the bike showed me no mercy(1 hour 57 minutes). I was feeling confident that I could beat my time from last year as the goal post was very low. My overall time in 2008 was 3 hours 26 minutes. It was not a good race for me but "you win some and you lose some". This year I was hoping I could do a time of 3 hours and 10 minutes.

The sea was lovely and calm.....but the swim looked long. The far away buoy looked far away (and it was far away!). I was in the second wave and we were wading in the water ready to go ( I missed my wave the previous week in Mullaghmore and was lucky they let me race!).For the first third of the swim it was very congested and then the field spread out. I went a bit off course on the return leg to the beach and lost a bit of time. I ran up the beach as fast as I could taking off my wet suit, hat and goggles as I ran. I put on my helmet, socks, bike shoes and sunglasses. I ran out of transition and got on the bike. Phew!

I started cycling and got my breath back after the swim. I was trying to get a good steady rhythm going on the bike to keep a good pace. This year is my first year that I am actually passing a few people on the bike and not being passed by everybody. A lot of people passed me on the bike last Saturday but it was only a fraction of the number that passed me the year before. I felt stronger on the bike this year. The weather was a bonus and the course was not too windy. The wind this year was replaced by the heat. I took my gels and water on the bike to stay hydrated. The bike course was tough with plenty of little hills and two nice big ones near the end. The last few km’s were down hill and I was back into transition (wish I could say before I knew it). My bike leg was 1 hour 37 minutes - exactly 20 minutes better than last year.

While putting on my runners I looked at my watch 2 hour 14 minutes. I now was wondering if I could break 3 hours and do a 45 min run - I did 45:03 in the Tri-Athy Olympic race last month. Anybody who knows the run course in Kilkee could have told me I was being delusional. Delusional or not I gave it a try. I ran out of transition and decided to count the number of people I passed and subtract one for each one that passed me. I found in my last few races that this keeps me focused on the road ahead and I forget the pain. The numbers start adding up . I passed about 20 people in the first two km’s. I was running up that hill. I was passing people but no one was passing me. Only one girl passed me but I passed her again. At the 5km turning point I headed downhill. I was against the clock. The uphill run was slower than I thought. I had about 7 minutes for the last 2km’s. I was not going to break 3 hours. I crossed the line in 3 hours and 2 minutes. I was delighted – 24 minutes faster than last year. I had a great race. I passed 62 people on the run -mind you they had probably all passed me on the bike earlier! Last year I was so far behind the main pack I had a lonely run.

Next year? Who knows?


swim t1 Bike t2 Run Result

2008 33.40 1.50 1.57.31 1.02 52.31 3.26.32

2009 33.50 1.37 1.37.16 1.09 49.01 3.02.52

jane ann

14 years 11 months ago

well done did year sub 3 for sure.keep up the good work.ja


14 years 11 months ago

All that work on the bike paid off, Mir. Go Team La Santa! Well done, what a great result.