On Saturday the 30th of June , Blackwater Triathlon Club member, Stephen Collins, was in Downings, Co. Donegal, to take part in the Sheephaven Middle Distance Triathlon.
This is a beautiful part of the country and makes for a scenic, but very tough race. The race started with a 1.9km swim in the crystal clear waters of the calm and sheltered Sheephaven Bay. The warm and calm conditions made for a relatively easy and pleasant swim, definitely the coolest part of the day. The 90km bike course was quite hilly and the temperatures really didn’t help as the competitors began the cycle with a loop of the scenic Atlantic Drive on the Rosguill Peninsula. They followed on to Mulroy Bay towards Milford before meeting Lough Swilly at Rathmullan, passing the site of the Flight of the Earls (1607). From there competitors joined the Wild Atlantic Way and began their main challenge – the climb of Knockalla. The effort brought a reward at the top with sweeping views over Ballymastocker beach, voted 2nd most beautiful beach in the world. Competitors then headed towards the famous Fanad Head Lighthouse, before following the Atlantic coast, crossing over the Mulroy Bridge and finishing again in Downings village. The 21 km run was mainly flat and fast but did have a few hills in there to test competitors (it is Donegal after all). The course passed through the village on both loops and there were loads of locals out to cheer the athletes on in the scorching weather. Despite the heat and the hills Stephen finished in an excellent time of 5 hours and 37 minutes. Well done to Stephen and everyone else who took part on the day.