(Deirdre Hassett reporting from base...)

In the worst, rainiest, windiest summer for triathlon in the past few years, the first Galway Ironman 70.3 triathlon took place in Salthill.

For a flavour of the day’s event, check out this great video by GalwayGirl:

The half Ironman distance comprises: 1900m swim (shortened on the day to 1000m due to the very rough sea conditions), a 90km cycle and 21km run. Conditions were choppy for the swim, bitterly cold and wet for the bike – and, lo! – the sun came out for the run; three laps around Salthill and the Claddagh, finishing up the prom at Leisureland.

There was great support, barely dampened by the torrential rain and wind.

Frank Burke turned out an excellent 4:59:52 just four weeks after his finish in the full IMUK in Bolton (with a nice 1:40 half marathon); finishing in the top 150 competitors – popping nicely into the top 10% of all finishers, and 21st in a very competitive age group. Frank(ly), the man has the stamina of an ox. Others of us are still lunching out on the one Ironman event...

Miriam Wall had a great race, finishing fourth in her age-group in 5:35:28, despite the bitterly cold conditions on the bike, which didn’t favour her running. To everyone’s delight, at the ‘Rolldown’, where the qualification slots for the 2012 Ironman 70.3 championships are allotted, Miriam discovered that as the third age-group athlete did not want her slot, she qualified for the 2012 World Championships in Las Vegas! A well deserved result for Miriam after a focused summer of triathlon training.

In the meantime, back at the ranch – yours truly was holding the fort in transition. Managing transition (swim-to-bike and bike-to-run changeover) along with Mark Rafferty and Paul, the IMUK transition director, I was in charge of the swim-to-bike end of transition, along with some interesting traffic management situations, 20 volunteers, an indecipherable radio and about 2000 VERY expensive bicycles. I’m happy to report that nobody died on my watch, no bikes were stolen (I think, despite a few heart stopping false alarms) and I learned a whole lot about event management on a very, very large scale.

One of the benefits of managing transition was that I was able to chat to the relay teams once the first part of the day came under control. The club had a strong selection of runners in the run leg of the relay. In transition, along with a very cold looking, plastic-sheeting clad Ray Darcy were: Maeve Noonan, Brian Bruton, Mick Rice and Johnny O’Connor, along with our friends Alan Forde and Ian Egan from Galway City Harriers. Ian eventually took home the ‘buddies team’ relay prize with Catherine Walsh and Brian O’Donnell. There was an air of anticipation along the row of portaloos as cold athletes huddled in wait for their cyclists to return, out of the stiff breeze through the Herrus fencing. The Croi organiser had made the doubtful statement that 'relay teams were only for fun, like'. This statement was belied by the demonic glint in the eyes of the waiting runners. I think he got out of the relay pen unharmed.

Johnny’s cyclist was unfortunately unable to complete the bike leg, so I rekitted him with a new chip. To my surprise, he was still pottering around about ten minutes later. The plan, I then discovered, was to use Johnny as a ‘rabbit’ and the baying hounds (comprising, I assume, Mick and Brian) would set him off five minutes ahead of their anticipated bike return and chase him down...

Mick’s team (the Life Savers) finished in an excellent eighth place of 100 teams, in a speedy 4:42, with a 1:25:53 run split from Mick. Johnny’s team (the Dream Team) had no cycle completion, but he clocked in a nice 1:32:12 for his half marathon. Maeve’s team Predator finished in 5:46, Maeve running 1:47: 12. The jury is still out on Brian’s time – I’m having difficulty finding his team result - but some great photos to show he was there...

A small gallery of photos of the Athenry AC participants is up in the club gallery. If you have any more, send them on to the committee and we’ll get them up. Check out Johnny’s finish line celebration!


12 years 10 months ago

Congratulations to everybody that took part on the day. As always, I had a blast cheering you on from the sidelines! That looked like hard work running up Grattan Road against the wind. Can I also mention that both Paul Giblin and Pearse Hunter done outstanding on the day, competing in the full event. Their times were 5:32 and 6:10 respectively. Well done guys!


12 years 10 months ago

Powerful stuff on a filthy day, well done.

nicola deacy

12 years 10 months ago

Huge Congrats to Miriam Wall, I was about 250 metres from the finish line and she was absolutely flying it and looked like she could have kept on running!!Vegas better watch out!!