Roll up, roll up TUNA’s. Pat – Elite Timing Ireland is running this race. He will also be putting on our Eliminator Triathlon at the lakes.
August saw TUNA represented at 5 events across the province.
Saturday 4th August was the date for what is widely accepted as the toughest standard distance triathlon on the local circuit. Top of the Mourne Olympic triathlon is a 1mile sea swim was followed by a lung bursting 40k cycle through the mountains, finished off with a very steep 10k footrace.
Sean McIntyre again showed his class by finishing 9th overall in a time of 2.23 for another category win. Close on his heels were Darragh Corvan and Philip Castles. Paul Cullen and Matt Armstrong put in good times despite limited training this year. Leeanne Corvan finished strongly continuing her impressive year.
July saw the TUNA Club represented in no less than 7 triathlon events held across the province. With a slight improvement in weather this month the events proved to be much more enjoyable and some great times were posted.
Sunday 1st July saw the annual running of the Titanic Sprint and Olympic distance events in Belfast city centre. 7 TUNA members tackled the short course and 5 chose to go long in the Olympic event.
Some 400 athletes of all abilities took to the start line. A swim in the less than pristine waters of Clarendon dock was followed by a pancake flat but wind affected cycle and run around the streets of the capital. Steven McConaghy showed a great improvement in form to finish 26th overall in the sprint followed by the equally impressive Philip McDonald. Their achievements were overshadowed by Christen McMaster who finished her very first sprint distance event in a time of 1.20.10 for an age group win.
Hopefully winter 2011/12 has seen a lot more action on the bike & run than last year. Remember the 2 weeks we had in the deep freeze. Lots of club members are taking on some huge challenges in the year ahead:
Leeanne, Sarah & Pamela will be tacking on Half Ironman racing for the first time in Mallorca around the same time Paul Cullen has the Marathon des Sables to look forward to. Later in the year Gary, Lappy and I think maybe Phil (has he mentioned this to anyone?!) will be going for the full Ironman experience in Wales. Ross will be keen to hear their tips as he attempts the full IM distance a few weeks later at a race I have dreamed about competing in – the Elbaman.
Good luck to all the folks ‘going long’ this year. Alongside these largely mental challenges most of us will be just plugging away at a few local races. We have had a whole bunch of new recruits join in recent months and now is a perfect time to pick out a short triathlon to aim for and get trained for the summer.
The club caters to all abilities.
See you soon
You may not have heard as he keeps it very quiet but Darragh did a rather impressive IM time in Germany. Congrats to the big man who has really stuck to the task over the last 12 months to boost his IM time. His attention is turning to the short course next year and I think the top order in TUNA could see a shake up.
Darragh’s press release….
On Thursday 4th of August, TUNA member Darragh Corvan flew over to Regensburg in Germany to participate in the annual Ironman triathlon. The event held on the Sunday the 7th comprises of a 2.4mile swim followed by a 112mile cycle and then followed by a 26.2mile run.
At 7am, the TUNA stood at the Guggenburger See outside of the Bavarian city to launch his adventure with 2400 other competitors. The clacson sounded at 7, the race was underway and the athletes ran down to the beech for what turned out to be a very aggressive swim. “The tight start made the swim very crowded.” Said Darragh, “the competitors were all ontop of on another and no one was willing to give up their place. I had to constantly watch for openings.” The athlete came out of the water in an unbelievable time of 1hour and 6 minutes. All of those Tuesday nights swimming in Craigavon Lakes seem to have paid off.
Heaps of racing over the last few weeks. Lots of people taking on their first olympic distance races, Leeanne with a TUNA win in her first ever Olympic race. Even after trying to consume bits of the bike course in an effort to keep the energy levels up! Richard and Phil both broke the olympic duck at Mourne. Massive improvement on last year for Paul Quinn – if he keeps improving at this rate he will be in the mix next year. The chairman dragged me round my fastest run ever but I still managed to drop to fourth in a sprint to the line with Sean – amazing time for 2nd ever triathlon. Paul Cullen continues to be the man to beat this season but the 10 minute gap form Portrush was down to under a minute at castlewellan – maybe still a bit tired – IM is a fair excuse. Lots more racing to go before the season is tied up.
Inspired by a chance encounter with his teenage idol Kieth Duffy (of Boyzone fame), Darragh ripped up the course in Dublin faster than a group of 12 year old girls racing for prime position in an autograph queue. Darragh himself has been signing a few after the performance, fastest bike split of the day and 4th place overall. Save for our resident professional I don’t think any male from TUNA has had a podium. It’s time to redress that balance. This all bodes very well for IM Regensburg. We wish him all the best and hope somebody can start a bit of a dual with Paul Cullen. Paul Cullen recently posted a very impressive 10:34 in Austria with big bro Allen coming in well under 13hrs – no mean feat in itself.
Muckno again defied the weather forecasters and if I hadn’t have been stupid enough to ride home (through the monsoon) I’d have avoided 2 hours bike cleaning – take note Sarah ‘my gears don’t work’ Mcquitty. It was essentially just a bit of self-flagellation for allowing the chairman to beat me as usual. Paul Donnelly where were you? I spent the whole race awaiting the “tap on the bum” you promised and never delivered! Inge returned home with silverware again and if she’s going to keep up this new found hobby might have to invest in a trophy cabinet as well as the obligatory TT bike.
This is now going to be a regular in-season training session. It will run on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday night of each month – so the next one is this week (20th). Now we have some baseline times it will be run as an Australian pursuit, basically a race designed to put everyone on the finish line at the same time depending on previous performance – it keeps everybody racing the whole way. It starts at 7pm from the roundabout at the top of Garvaghy Rd. All welcome – there is no cost.
Near perfect conditions for racing developed in Portrush the day after the race! Although the skies were dark and wet the sea was calm enough and the 1hr swim times of last year where slashed in half. The Chairman hasn’t been beaten yet within the club and all eyes where on Paul Cullen to see if he would dare topple our noble leader. Stevie exited the swim in his customary position but Paul appeared less than a minute later, 30 seconds of which he gained in T1. We knew Paul was strong on the bike but the fastest split of the day was still a suprise – nice one! After an effort like that most of us would struggle to walk but he went on to put in the fastest TUNA run split of the day. Under the 2:10 barrier and 14th overall.
Stevie still managed to avoid being chicked – something the rest of the TUNA lads (self included) continue to aspire to in any of their races and under 2:20 ain’t too shabby. Erik managed to complete the entire course with a huge smile on his face – his wife’s advice I’m told. Sarah hammered her time from last year to win her category and even a cash prize – don’t stop pulling teeth just yet! Pamela managed her first olympic trithlon and even stopped for an interview with Alan Simpson on the beach after lap 1 of the swim.
A few TUNA members feeling not quite ready for the Olympic distance at Portrush opted for this new event at the Dalriada festival. It was rather strange distances (1/8th Iron) and more of a bike race with a short swim and run thrown in for good measure. The early swim exit was welcome relief as the water was bitter – felt sorry for those with a proper swim 50 miles up the coast the next day. The bike on the other hand was brutal and beautiful in equal measure. Along the coast road all was going well but then a left turn into one of the glens and a 4.5 mile granny gear climb. What goes up must come down so there was free speed on the way back. The run was short but the off-road terrain was pretty soggy and the finish line was welcome.
The race includes two free passes to the festival which is a great day out for the whole family. One to watch out for next year – Paul Cullen for the win with his now legendary bike speed! The effective clash with Causeway Olympic is unfortunate as it takes competitors out of both races. Come on Tri Ireland and Real Triathlon – work it out! Triathlon is too small for these conflicts, if that is what you are after I hear there is some real action to be had up the Short Strand!