The Kilkee Hell of the West Triathlon is an Olympic Distance Triathlon which has been up and running now for over 30 years – making it one of the longest continuously running triathlons in both Ireland and the World. Organised by the Limerick Triathlon Club this race falls annually on the last weekend in June. Hell of the West starts with a 1500m swim in the relatively calm waters of Kilkee’s Horse Shoe bay, followed by a 45km cycle against the winds of west Clare and a 10km hilly run along the rugged coastline of Loop Head – They don’t call it The Hell Of The West for nothing. 15 members of the Blackwater Triathlon Club travelled to Kilkee for the 35th Hell of the West on Saturday the 29th of June. Some decided to make the most of it and head up on the Friday night while others made the long journey on the morning of the race. There were 3 waves on the day, starting with the women’s wave just before 9:30am with the two mens wave soon after. Kilkee is famous for being one of the tougher standard distance races, especially on the swim but this year the sea was calm with barely a ripple to swim through. The clear blue water made spotting jellyfish easy but also all the nature underneath. Sighting on the way back into the beach was made difficult due to the sun but following the splashes in front helped. Next was a run on the beach to transition before jumping on the bike. There were plenty of hills to test the legs but the downhills made up for it with some fast descents to bring up the average speed. There were some interesting road surfaces in parts but overall it allowed for some good times. The wind direction meant you had to work hard on the way out but definitely helped on the way back into town. Those extra 4km seemed to pass by quickly. There was great support around the town for the athletes when they got to the start of the run and they needed that knowing what was to come. The run began with 5km of climbing with only a couple of downhills to loosen the legs and with temperatures hitting mid 20s it was going to take a lot of hard work to get to the finish line. The views were amazing which helped distract from the pain, but once you got to the turnaround there was plenty of downhill running to make up some time. A Mr Potato man made of balloons was a welcome distraction and the water stations were used by everyone on route to keep cool. Getting to the finish line was hard but the support made it worth the pain. First home from the BTC was Gearoid Murphy in 2:36 followed by Jonathan Kenneally in 2:40 and Peter O’Brien in 2:42. Dave Bartley crossed the finish line in 2:43, a whole 10 minutes quicker than last year, closely followed by Deirdre Morrison, our first lady home in 2:47, 3 minutes faster than last year. Mick Beston finished nearly 9 minutes faster than last year in 2:50 with Eileen Ryan and Gina Lyons finishing in 2:52 and 2:56 respectively. Stephan Dalton finished in 2:57, with Shane Fleming in 2:59, Ashleigh Byrne O’Brien in 3:03 and Kevin O’Farrell in 3:06. Jim Crowley came home in 3:09 with Ann Lyons in 3:10 and Niamh Fleming in 3:25. The post race dip in the sea was very welcome for some very tired and very hot athletes. These were excellent times on such a tough course. Well done all four of them for yet another good performance in BTC colours. All the BTC crew really enjoyed their day out in the sun of West Clare agreed that it was a really well run race with plenty of stewards, a big marquee for changing and storing gear, and really good post race refreshments. The people of Kilkee also came out in large numbers to support the racers, cheering on the participants along the beach front at the start and then later at the finish line.