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. Blackwater Triathlon Club members Karen McNamara, Deidre Morrisson, Dave Bartley and Mick Beston headed up to Clare last weekend to take part in this challenging event along with over 450 other athletes. Following a couple of weeks of unseasonably warm weather, conditions on the day were very warm indeed for participants as they arrived in transition on Saturday morning. The race started in a number of different waves with Karen and Deidre out in the first wave at 9.30a.m. and Dave and Mick in the final wave at 10a.m. Even at that hour of the morning the athletes were glad to get in the water to cool down a little. The swim was out, across and back in the bay and the calm conditions facilitated some very fast swim times. With the swim behind them, the competitors now had to get through the cycle leg. There was a new route this year and even though it wasn’t as hilly as in previous years, there were plenty of long drags and uneven surfaces to drain the legs of the participants. This would be challenging enough in normal conditions, but as temperatures hit 28 degrees it became increasingly tough. Proper hydration was vitally important in the very non-Irish conditions. The day was rounded off with a 10km run along the beautiful and rugged coast, 5km uphill and 5 km downhill. At least the views were spectacular as temperatures on the run edged up to 30 degrees. There were 5 water stops on the route and local residents got their garden hoses out to spray down runners as they passed by, much to the delight and relief of the racers. Deidre was the first of the BTC racers home, crossing the line in a very impressive 2:50:27, finishing second in her age category. Dave was just 3 minutes slower, finishing in 2:53:29, with Mick finishing in of 2:58:46 and Karen coming home in 3:16:05. 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.