The annual Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon event took place on the weekend of the 26th and 27th of May. Once again a large contingent from the Blackwater Triathlon Club travelled to Gort in Co. Galway to take part in some of the 22 races that took place over the course of the weekendThese range from the Half Ironman distance Gauntlet with a 1900 Metre swim, a 96 km cycle and a 21 km run, to a race for 8-10 year olds with a 100km swim, a 4km cycle and an 800 metre run, with a huge variety of relay and solo options in between. In total The Blackwater Triathlon Club had 18 members racing at the weekend, with some of them doing multiple events. This year there were also three swimming only events added to the calendar, a mile swim, a 2.5km swim and a 5km swim. There was something there for every level of triathlete, whether absolute beginner or grizzled veteran and it’s an ideal opportunity for Triathlon stars of today and the future to compete. It’s also a weekend that is targeted very much at families with onsite camping and races for parents and children. The weekend began with the sprint, super sprint and relay sprint races. Mick Beston and Bill McAuliffe, along with nearly 200 other athletes, took part in the sprint distance race, which consisted of a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run. Conditions were pleasant , albeit a little breezy. The swim was fine with water temperatures in the lake around 16 degrees with a well marked route, although a few complained that the swim exit wasn’t marked with a brightly coloured buoy. The bike course for the most part was on well surfaced roads with a few drags and a few technical downhill sections. Mick finished in 1:25:39 with Bill coming home in 1:29:39. Mark Ryan was our sole competitor in the Sprint Plus distance race. This consisted of an 800 metre swim, a 40km cycle and an 8km run. Mark finished in a time of 2:38:05, 27th overall and 2nd in his age group. Blackwater Triathlon Club had two competitors in ‘The Gauntlet’, a middle-distance race, consisting of a challenging 1.9km swim, 96km bike ride and 21km run. 170 athletes in total took part and Deidre Morrisson was home in a time of 6:04:13, with Aidan Fitzgerald finishing in 6:33:57. 345 athletes took part in the Olympic distance race, including no fewer than eleven members of the BTC. This consisted of a 1500 metre swim, a 40km cycle and a 10km run and Shane Collins was the first of the BTC crew home, crossing the finishing line in 2:33:37. Martin Feeney, taking part in his first ever triathlon, finished in 2:41:53, followed by Brian Baker and Dave Bartley in 2:45:37 and 2:49:14 respectively. Gina Lyons and Ashleigh Byrne were the next two home, with just 4 seconds between them! Gina took the bragging rights this time, crossing the line in 3:03:48 with Ashleigh just behind in 3:03:52. Ann Lyons, Niamh Fleming and Ciara MacCallum finished in 3:09:43, 3:16:58 and 3:18:09 respectively. Karen McNamara finished in 3:26:25 with Julian Boeg coming home in 3:56:49. Julian and Niamh had also completed the 2.5km lake swim on Saturday, along with another BTC member, Mary Collins. Some people are just gluttons for punishment. Julian swam the 2.5 km course in a very impressive 47:57, with Niamh finishing in 1:06:53 and Mary in 1:20:32. Conditions on Saturday were very choppy and the buoys were not always as visible as the swimmers would have liked, resulting in longer swims for everyone.
The MacCallum and Boeg families weren’t finished there though, with the next generation of Blackwater triathletes competing in the children’s events.
Julian’s daughter Alice completed the 13-15 yrs race, finishing the 300 metre swim, 8 kilometre cycle and 2,400 metre run in 46:46, 15 minutes faster than her time last year. That was an amazing improvement for Alice. Ciara’s daughter Orla completed the 100 metre swim, 4 km cycle and 800 metre run in the 8-10 years race in 38:31. She really enjoyed the race and apparently the triathlon bug has bitten her hard. All the more impressive was the fact that Orla stopped to assist another athlete who had an accident on the course and waited until an adult arrived. Well done to her, she’s a credit to her parents and the club. The children’s events were held entirely on the castle grounds and were very well organised, with loads of kayaks, swimmers and boards in the water to ensure the safety of the competitors. All in all it was a very good weekend for the club. The whole event was extremely well organised and very family friendly with bouncy castles, a band, loads of catering and merchandise. Definitely one for next year’s calendar.