Saturday 18th July – Browns Bay Beast Olympic
This challenging race is hosted by the Hi Elbow triathlon club, based in County Antrim. Two hardy TUNAs turned out to compete – Paul Skelly and David Mc Cready.
The swim took place in Browns Bay, Islandmagee, in perfect conditions, with not a ripple to be seen on the water. Paul powered through the swim in a great time of 25.25, and David was out and on his feet in an impressive 29.13 for the 1500 metre swim.
Both were then on the 40Km bike route; with about 1800ft of climbing and very technical descents, this is where the course really began to test the competitors. Both of the TUNAs made it round in style, with Paul taking 1:17:33 to beat the beastly bike course, and David completing it in 1:30:19.
The run consisted of a hilly, two lap course to make up the 10k, which Paul completed in the excellent time of 46.32, giving him a finish time of 2 hr 31, and 12th position overall. David also had a very good run, finishing in 54.07, with a finish time of 2 hrs 56.
Great to see TUNAs out there beating the beast – well done Paul and David!
Sunday 19th July 2015 – CAT 1 Olympic Race at Lissadell House in Sligo
Sligo’s Lissadell House played host to Round 3 of the Triathlon Ireland Super Series. This new format allows top level triathletes in the country to compete in a draft legal competition – a whole new challenge for many! Of course, TUNA was represented by the notorious Phil Castles, renowned for having the fastest wheels in the North.
The race began on a dull, wet morning, with a choppy sea greeting the competitors. This didn’t put Phil off in the slightest, clocking a fantastic swim time of 21.52 for the 1500 metre swim. Soon Phil was on the cycle course. The Waringstown man commented, “It was a very technical course, but I really enjoyed the route and the competition out on the road”. The cycle started on dry roads which dried as the race continued, making the technical course even more challenging. As is now customary, Phil recorded the fastest bike split of the day, covering the 40k in the excellent time of 01:01:35. Sadly for the other competitors, in order to get any benefit from the draft legal race, you have to be able to keep up with Phil!
After a speedy transition, Phil was on the run, which was multi-terrain, covering tarmac, grass, gravel and sand. Add a few hills into the mix, and it made for a very tough run. What started in the rain finished in sunshine, and a great run split for Phil of 40.31 to give him a finish time of 2:04:58 and 8th place overall.
Phil enjoyed the new racing format, and we can be sure that we will see him flashing past at more of these races in the near future!
Wed 22 July – Dalriada Glenarm Sprint
This mid-week race is a family favourite, with a range of different races for all ages and abilities. Sadly, this time the weather was not in its favour, playing out on a wet, miserable evening. This did not put off the athletes, including our own Philip Castles.
In the 750 metre sea swim, Phil was 6th out of the water in an excellent time of 12:20, and was so keen to get stuck into the tough bike course that he was joint fastest through the first transition, taking only 40 seconds to get out of the wetsuit and on the saddle.
The bike course set out for a short time along the coast road, before turning up to face a steep gradient in the glens of Antrim. This allowed Phil to do what he does best, tearing up the tarmac on the climb, then burning down the other side, loving every minute of the high speed descent. Phil recorded the fastest bike split of all the competitors, with a speedy time of 36:37.
The run took place in the ground of the beautiful Glenarm castle, but Phil obviously didn’t hang around to admire the scenery, burning up the course in a time of 19:23 for the 5k. This performance gave him the finish time of 1:09:32, and a fantastic 2nd place overall. Excellent work Phil!
Sunday 26 July Titanic Triathlon
This race has gone from strength to strength since it began in 2012, with people flocking from all over the North and South of Ireland, and even further afield to take part.
This edition took place in typical summer weather, with heavy rain and strong winds greeting the competitors. This did not deter our hardy TUNAs, who turned out in force to take part in the Olympic distance and Sprint distance races. In total we were represented by nine members. In the Olympic distance event, there was Paul Mc Manus, Malcolm Bourke, Craig Harrison, Jonathan Walker, Mark Miskelly, Edward Cantley and Francie Haughey. In the sprint, two TUNAs toed the line – Phil Castles and Alfie Donnelly.
In the Olympic distance event, first TUNA out of the water was Paul Mc Manus, who completed the 1500 metres swim in the Lagan in 24:34 – a great achievement. He was soon followed by Jonathan Walker in 25:55, and a trio of TUNAs appeared in the 26th minute – Francie Haughey, Mark Miskelly and Malcolm Bourke. They were soon joined on dry land by Craig Harrison and Edward Cantley, who were raring to go for the bike course.
The course took the competitors out around the harbour estate, taking in many of the iconic buildings and locations associated with the Titanic. Due to the horrendous weather conditions, a lot of the competitors had problems on the course, with punctures and wobbles being the order of the day. Luckily, all the TUNAs made it round the course safely, with Paul Mc Manus taking the honours for fastest TUNA on the bike for the 40k Olympic distance, with a time of 01:02:10.
The run was 4 laps of the city centre, running past the Albert Clock, The Law Courts and City Hall. It is always well supported by passers-by, cheering on the brave competitors. Fastest TUNA around the 10k run was Malcolm Bourke, who blitzed the run in 40:48, giving him an excellent finish time of 2:16:40. Paul Mc Manus also finished the race in style, with a finish time of 02:11:51, giving him the prestige of first TUNA overall, and an astonishing 17th place in the race, in a field of over 400 competitors.
The real battle then followed between Craig Harrison and Jonathan Walker, who were neck and neck approaching the finish line. Jonathan had the advantage in the swim, which Craig then neutralised on the bike section. This led to a thrilling finish between the two clubmates on the run, with Craig taking the glory by a margin of only two seconds! They recovered from the head to head in time to see their fellow TUNAs Mark, Edward and Francie finish the race in 02:35:14, 02:39:56 and 02:54:30 respectively. A great showing by all the TUNA guys – well done all!
In the sprint distance race, Phil and Alfie were covering half the distance of the Olympic competitors, but it definitely wasn’t half the effort. Phil put in a great swim, covering the 750m in 11:28. Alfie followed in 16:07, before heading in to the enormous transition area to make the switch to the bike. Once again, this was Phil’s time to shine, clocking the fastest bike split on the course with a time of 28:55 for the 20k wet and windy course.
On the run, the two TUNAs took in two laps of the city centre course, and finished their races in great style, with 18:41 for Phil, and 24:42 for Alfie. This gave the guys finish times of 1:02:52 for Phil, and 1:22:40 for Alfie. Phil finished in 4th place overall, just being pipped to the podium. This was no disgrace for the Waringstown man, with such a strong field of competitors.
All in all, despite the adverse weather, it was a great day out for the club members, and they are all looking forward to their next triathlon outings!