THE KILKENNY Triathlon, which took place last weekend, has been hailed as an outstanding success in spite of the challenges posed by the inclement weather of recent weeks.
Unusually high rain fall over the past two months had resulted in the cancellation of the Nore Swim earlier in July, due to high water levels. There were some fears that the TriGrandPrix would be similarly affected. However, the swimming leg of the events still went ahead – albeit with a slightly truncated Olympic distance swim, as upstream was not an option.
Over 1200 athletes took part in the activities in Kilkenny City on Saturday, with events kicking off at 10am. Hundreds of spectators also converged around key vantage areas to see the athletes, including the Parade, where the finish line was following the cycle through the countryside, and then run through the Castle Park.
The men’s Olympic distance was won by Dublin man Colm Sheeran, with Vanessa Fenton claiming the ladies’ honours.
There were some notable local successes as well, with Niamh Richardson winning the women’s sprint distance, and Dennis Kerrigan taking top spot in the sprint relay. The local Kilkenny Triathlon Club also boasted some highly-placed members in the relay teams competitions.
This year, in addition to the main events (Olympic, sprint and super sprint distances) two new events were added to proceedings. The Corporate Challenge event was for people who wished to compete as part of a team with work colleagues, while the charity super sprint event, ChooseToTri, focused on promoting the fact that exercise helps prevent disease and cancer.
After all the swimming, cycling and running, the athletes retired to a social apres-race party in the Left Bank at 7.30pm. Weary, but pleased with their day’s work, many stayed on late to enjoy the festive atmosphere and make a night of it.
Chairman of Kilkenny Triathlon Club Emmet McAviney said that the event was a success and that those involved were already looking forward to next year.
“This can be a real festival every year, the plan is to keep this going,” he said.
“Kilkenny is ideal for the sport – you have the Castle, and the river going right through the city – it’s not like it’s out on a lake and no one can see anything.”
Triathlon, an exciting and inclusive sport, is the fastest growing sport in the world, particularly in Ireland, where there are over 50 clubs.
Kilkenny Triathlon Club was established in January of 2011 in response to the huge demand for it among Kilkenny athletes. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.