On Sunday the 27th of September, while most sane people were turning over in their warm beds, 150 brave souls were making their way to Ballyhass Lakes to compete in the inaugural Ballyhass Sprint Triathlon. The event, which was organised by Mallow Triathlon Club, consisted of a 750m swim in the waters of Ballyhass lakes, a 22km cycle over a fast course with only 187m of elevation and finishing with a 5km run. There was some trepidation amongst the competitors as they arrived at Ballyhass Lakes. It was a beautiful clear autumn morning, but the sight of frost covered fields is not something that makes most people want to jump in to a lake! The event was really well organised by the team from Mallow Triathlon Club. There was plenty of room for social distancing for the athletes and organisers with clear spaces between individual competitors in the transition areas. The swim was a rolling start from a pontoon, with athletes seeded according to their ability with a 5 second gap between each swimmer. Despite the frosty morning, the water was surprisingly pleasant as the swimmers dived, jumped, slid and occasionally rolled in to the crystal clear waters of the lake. Exiting the swim, the athletes made their way along the 125metre path to the transition zone, where the generous spacing made for a much less crowded transition experience than many triathletes are used to. The bike course took the athletes out into Cecilstown and on to Castlemagner, before hitting the N72 to return to Cecilstown and back to the lakes. A good fast route overall, with a couple of nice climbs to keep it interesting and near perfect conditions for athletes and the occasional spectators cheering them on – from a safe distance of course. The race finished with a 5km run, out to Cecilstown and back. The race was superbly organised and was a credit to Mallow Triathlon Club, especially since it was their first Triathlon. Hopefully it will become a regular fixture on the Triathlon Calendar for years to come. The race was well supported by local clubs including 25 members of The Blackwater Triathlon Club. Dave McCarthy continued his recent good form finishing third overall in an excellent time of 1:09:03. He was followed by Michael Lyons (1:13:22), Jonathan Kenneally (1:17:39), Donal Murphy (1:17:59), Kieran Duggan (1:18:39), Peter O’Brien (1:18:55), Gearoid Murphy (1:20:46), Dave Bartley (1:21:24), Ken Steele (1:21:24), Eleanor Fennessy (1:23:09), Ashleigh Byrne-O’Brien (1:23:23), Gina Lyons (1:25:32), Mick Beston (1:25:57), Adrian Collins (1:26:55), Edwina Shanahan (1:28:58), Terry Broderick (1:29:08), Kenneth Power (1:29:24), Stephen Dalton (1:32:15), Bernard Kiernan (1:37:00), Pat Dunlea (1:38:01), Amanda Lenihan (1:38:43, 1st in her age group), Michelle Kearney (1:41:39), Jeffrey Roberts (1:41:48), and Siobhain Steele (1:48:35). Unfortunately, Justin Ryan got a puncture and didn’t finish on the day. All in all it was an excellent day out for the Blackwater Triathlon Club with several 2nd and 3rd place age group finishes and a few personal best times over the distance. Well done to Mallow Triathlon Club, the organisers, marshals and Triathlon Ireland folks who made it such a special event and to everyone who took part on the day.