The Jailbreak triathlon in Cobh, took place on Saturday the 24th of August. Blackwater Triathlon Club was well represented, with several members taking part on the day. Justin Ryan, Niamh Fleming, Julian Boeg, Adrian Collins, Eleanor Fennessy and Dave Murphy were all there to compete in the popular Olympic distance race, which this year was part of the BMW National Series. The swim in the Jailbreak Triathlon is what gives it its name. This is a one of kind race in this part of the country where the athletes get to “jailbreak” from a former prison island across the worlds second largest natural harbour. The 300 triathletes that took part on the day were taken by boat across to Spike Island, the site of the infamous former prison. The race then began with a 1500m swim to Cobh on the Great island metres to Cobh. This was followed by a relatively flat, fast and technical 40km cycle, before finishing with a flat, scenic, four loop run along the waterfront in Cobh. Julian got an early taste of the sea conditions on the morning after he was dropped off at the pier on Spike Island. The 500m walk to the shore start isn’t suitable for crutches, so Julian swam it instead. Some people would see this as a disadvantage. Julian just saw it as a 500m warm up for the main event. The Jailbreak swim can be a challenging one, and over the years, depending on conditions, it has been a pretty gruelling swim. However, conditions on Saturday were flat and calm, near perfect for the swim. Safety is of course a huge consideration and as usual there were lots of boats and kayaks accompanying the swimmers as they made their way across the harbour. The tide pulled towards sea for the middle third and then towards the city for the last third, but sighting was easy with the calm conditions. Julian’s extra 500m warm up paid off and he was fifth out of the water. The spectator support in this race was also excellent on Saturday. With the start and finish of the race centred in the town itself and the good weather on the day, it meant that lots of people were out and about to cheer the athletes on as they got out of the water and made their way to transition. The bike ride was indeed fast and flat, but there was quite a stiff wind on the road back, just to make sure it wasn’t too easy. The route was well marshalled and every little blemish on the road was marked well in advance, making it a much safer experience for the cyclists. The four loop run route was out along the estuary walk, up a short hill and down slope back to Cobh station. Athletes’ spirits were kept high throughout the race by the huge numbers of enthusiastic spectators who cheered them on. The marshals, of which there were plenty, were also incredibly friendly and enthusiastic on the day, making even the hardest parts of the race a pleasure.
It was a successful day for the BTC crew with Justin Ryan finishing 4th overall and first in the 25-29 age group category in a very fast time of 1:57:29. Eleanor Fennessey finished in 2:30:12, fourth in her age group. Adrian Collins crossed the finish line in 2:35:03, Niamh Fleming in 2:54:38 and Julian finished in 3:19:12. All in all it was a brilliantly run race and a credit to the organisers in Cobh Triathlon Club and to the people of Cobh.