The ever popular Camlough Lake Water Festival was well attended by TUNAs over the weekend.

Friday 21st August 2015 – Camlough Aquathon

Emily Cantley, one of our youngest representatives, made a great impact on the Junior Aquathon on Friday evening, finishing a fantastic 4th overall and 3rd female. Emily recorded a swim of 4.21 for the 300 metres and a run of 10.40 for the 2 kilometres, for an excellent finish time of 15.01. Great going Emily!

Saturday 22nd August 2015 – Camlough Super Sprint

This short distance, high speed event offered  a high intensity challenge for the four TUNAs who took part, with distances of 250m for the swim, 6k for the cycle, and finished off with a 3k run.

First TUNA over the line was our esteemed chairman, Dwyer O’Hagan, who powered across the finish line with the excellent time of 36.28. He was joined less than a minute later by Fiona Murphy, who took the accolades as first female, and 10th overall! All her hard work has definitely paid off this season, despite an encounter with a hit and run driver who knocked her off her bicycle a few months ago. Another fantastic TUNA female was next across the line – Emily Cantley finished in 39.08, and was 1st junior and 3rd female to complete the race, adding to her collection of podium placings. Joe Hendron rounded off the quartet of TUNAs with an impressive finish time of 40.52.

Saturday 22nd August 2015 – Camlough 5km Swim

Later that day, two TUNAs were taking on a longer distance challenge, in the shape of the 5k swim. Francie Haughey completed the race in skins, and covered the distance in the amazing time of 1hr 43min.

Edward Cantley also represented the TUNAs very impressively with a strong finish time of 2hr 24min.

Saturday 22nd August 2015 – Ballybay Olympic Triathlon

TUNA’s Gary McDonald made the trip to Ballybay in County Monaghan to take part in the Olympic distance triathlon. Gary placed an impressive  22nd place, with a swim time of  30.03 for the 1500 metres, 1 hr 9 mins for the  40k cycle, and a speedy 46 mins  for the 10k run. Gary completed the race with a finish time of 2hr 28min.

Sunday 23rd August 2015 – Dublin Vodafone Olympic CAT 1 Race

Close to 1000 triathletes braved horrible weather conditons for the Standard Distance National Championships at Dublin City Triathlon.

Waves of age group athletes took on the 1500 metre swim, 40 kilometre bike and 10 kilometre run with everyone putting in brilliant performances to make it through the testing course.

Following the mornings non drafting races it was onto the draft legal Cat 1 action where the country’s top athletes along with some international talent was on show, featuring TUNA stalwart Philip Castles.

It has been a very new experience this season for Phil, mixing it with the country’s best in the draft legal format. Phil put in an excellent performance, and did his club proud, finishing 34th overall, in a fantastic 2hr 19min.

 

Saturday 15th August – Lough Neagh Sprint and Super Sprint Triathlon, Ballyronan

Now in its 14th year, the Lough Neagh Triathlon is part of the Triathlon Ireland National Series and is one of only six races hosting a round of the Triathlon Ireland Super Series, specifically aimed at attracting the best triathletes in Ireland.

The Lough Neagh event is a sprint distance race, which incorporates a 750 metre swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. There was also the option of a Super Sprint event, which includes a 300 metre swim, 10km cycle and 2.5km run. Weather conditions on the day were bright with a shower of rain making the road conditions very slippery on a fairly technical course.

The sprint race attracted almost 300 competitors, including 34 Category 1 athletes, who qualified for the Triathlon Ireland Super Series. One of these chosen few was our own Phil Castles, who toed the line to compete with the cream of Ireland’s triathletes. Phil finished in 17th position overall, posting a fantastic finish time of 1:08:02 for the course.

TUNA was also well represented by club chairman Dwyer O’Hagan in the Super Sprint – where he finished in a superb 4th place.

Jonny Walker, Sam Uprichard, Alfie Donnelly and Francie Haughey represented the club in the sprint race. Richill native Jonny was the first of this group to cross the finish line, with a speedy finish time of 1:16:13. Sam Uprichard followed with an impressive time of 1:24:30, with Alfie Donnelly close behind in 1:28:29, and soon after Francie Haughey joined them with a strong finish in 1:31:18.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 16th August 2015 – Ironman Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada

TUNA member Paul McManus made the journey from his hometown of Banbridge to Quebec, Canada for this popular and beautiful race. The surrounding area is known for its hiking, skiing, kayaking, golfing and cycling—making it an idyllic location for IRONMAN athletes.

Paul covered the 2.4-mile (3.8 km) lake swim in 1hr 12 minutes and was then on the quarter-mile run to find his bike among the 1800 other competitors. The two-loop, 112-mile (180 km) bike course ran through forests and low lying mountains, offering challenging elevations – Paul was in his element and posted a bike split of 5 hrs 29 mins. The two-loop, 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run course, lined with enthusiastic spectators, took runners past a waterfall alongside Lac Tremblant and into the heart of the pedestrian village of Tremblant Resort. Paul covered the marathon run in 4hr 49mins, finishing the race in a fantastic 11hrs 40 mins.

 

 
The season is definitely now in full swing, and the TUNAs have been spotted all over the country, taking advantage of the great selection of races available on the calendar this year. Here is a roundup of action so far in August.

Sunday 26th July 2015  - Outlaw Full Distance Ironman

This race in Nottingham, Engand, has been running for six years. The 2.4 mile swim takes place in a lake, with a single out and back course. The roads around Nottingham offer great surfaces for fast riding on the 112 mile cycle leg, and only the odd short climb.

The 26.2 mile run course navigates around the lake and on to the River Trent path, with a multi-lap course.

Richard Mc Cartney lined up with about 1400 other competitors to take on this challenge, and completed the course in an excellent 11hr 41min, covering the swim in 1hr 28min, the cycle in 6hr 2min, and the run in 3hr 53min.

Great work Richard!

 

Saturday 1st August 2015 – Tri the Lough Sprint Triathlon

This superbly organised race is hosted by Omagh Tri Club, and Alfred Donnelly was in attendance to represent TUNA on the day. Alfie had a fantastic swim, marking an exce

llent time of 15.37 for the 750 metres. He kept the tempo high for the cycle as well, recording 39.18 for the 20k course. Alfie still had plenty of energy left for the run, covering the 5k in 25.03, leaving him with an overall finish time of 1hr 21 min.

Sunday 2nd August 2015 – Sea swim 8.5 km from Carlingford to Warrenpoint

Some TUNAs also like to focus on one sport at a time, and Francie Haughey took on the challenge of this long distance swim across Carlingford Bay. Rough seas and jelly fish greeted Francie, our resident open water specialist. However, it would take more than that to discourage him, as the promise of Guinness was all it took to keep him motivated for the event. Francie powered through the challenging conditions to take 8th place overall, with the superb time of 2hrs 12 min. Excellent work Francie!

 

Sunday 9th August 2015 – Lisburn Sprint Triathlon
This popular pool based triathlon was attended by TUNA’s Jason Holmes. Jason crossed the finish line in an impressive 1hr 24min, with a swim of 17.15, cycle of 38.10 and run of 25.03. Great job Jason!
Sunday 9th August 2015 – Dublin Ironman 70.3


South of the border, four TUNA
s made the trip to Dublin to take part in the inaugural Dublin Ironman 70.3 race, consisting of a 1.9km sea swim in Scotsman’s Bay,

Dun Laoghaire, south of Dublin city, a 90km cycle single loop from Dun Laoghaire, north along the coast and through the centre of Dublin to Phoenix Park, where competitors will face the 21.1km run.

After months of training the big day arrived, and the TUNAs were more than ready for the challenge. Craig Harrison was first TUNA across the line, with an amazing finish time of 5hr 6 min. This included a 1hr 42min half marathon – a time any of us would be proud of with fresh legs, never mind at the end of a half iron distance triathlon.

Craig’s club mates then finished in quick succession, with Chris O’Carroll claiming second TUNA home, with the great time of 6hr 21min. He was soon joined by David McCready, who finished in 6hr 29min, and hot on his heels was Adrian Woolsey, with a strong finish time of 6hr 33min.

Well done to all the TUNAS – keep er lit – plenty more races left!

 

 

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

Olympic

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!

 

Sunday 5 July – Tri Athlone Middle Distance Champioships

TUNA were ably represented by Malcolm Bourke at the TriAthlone Middle Distance Championships in the County Westmeath town. This race attracted international professional triathletes as well as amateurs and locals. Malcolm impressed in this highly competitive field, with an overall time of 4hrs 39min for the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle and 13.1 mile run. This time placed Malcolm 2nd in his age group – a fantastic achievement! As you can see, Malcolm left it all out on the course, and gained such an amazing finish time and position as a result.

 

 

 

10/11 July – Tri Limits Triathlon Festival

Friday 10th July 2015 saw the beginning of the Tri Limits triathlon festival, with a sprint race distance on the Friday night. The organisers and competitors were blessed with a lovely summer’s evening for the event, with a nice head wind on the bike to add to the challenge.

TUNAs were out in full force for this event. We had five club members participating in the race, with a great mixture of established and new club members completing the 750m swim, 20k cycle and 5k run.

1st TUNA home, and first athlete across the line as well, was Waringstown’s Philip Castles in 1hr 1min. “I really enjoyed this race”, Phil commented. “Tri Limits always organise a fun and friendly race, and the race was very well organised too.”

Next TUNA over the line was Richard McCartney, with a great time of 1hr 15min. He was followed shortly by Chris O’Carroll and Alfie Donnelly, who finished strongly in 1hr 17 mins and 1 hr 18 mins respectively.

They were soon cheering Adrian Woolsey across the line, who finished the race in an excellent1hr 25min. “I have been working hard on my swimming recently, and enjoyed getting back into the open water for this race”, commented Adrian.

Ryan Rainey turned out for the TUNAs at the half Iron distance race on Saturday 11th July. Ryan has been training hard, and racing both locally and internationally, with an appearance at a half iron distance race in Salou earlier this season. The Tandragee man’s incredible fitness and endurance was evident in his performance here at Eskragh Lough, coming in 2nd overall with a time of 4:50:21for the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle and half marathon run. Ryan commented, “I have been sticking to my training plan and it’s good to see the times coming down and the work paying off.”  Great going, Ryan!

Sunday 12th July Gunnaway Swim

On Sunday 12th July a few members were up early to take part in the Gunnaway swim – a sea swim from Rostrevor to Warrenpoint. The race began at 9:30 am, with competitors bravely lining up on the shore of Carlingford bay in Rostrevor to begin the 4800m challenge.

The race was open to skins and wetsuits categories, and TUNA had a representative in each, with Jason Thompson donning his wetsuit, and Francie Haughey forgoing the extra buoyancy and warmth to take part in just his swimming shorts – a brave man!

Both TUNAs gave a great account of themselves, with Jason Thompson placing 21st with a time of 1hr 20min for the 3 mile challenge. Jason later remarked, “There was a strong current, and I was sure I was going to end up in Carlingford rather than Warrenpoint at one point, so I was just glad to see the shore in Warrenpoint!”. Francie Haughey followed very closely behind, in 22nd place with a time of 1hr 21min – a great achievement!

Sat 18th July Top of the Mourne Triathlon

The promised good weather failed to make an appearance for this Olympic distance race, which is arguably one of the toughest in the country. Starting and finishing in typical ‘summer’ rain, this just added an extra dimension to the challenge.

TUNA were represented by Francie Haughey, Sam Uprichard, Edward Cantley and Adrian Woolsey in the individual race, and a highly motivated and specialised relay team of Jason Wilson (swim), Paul Mc Manus (bike) and Jason Thompson (run).

Jason had the third fastest swim of the day, finishing his component in 0:24:59, putting the relay team in a fantastic position for the rest of the race. The Portadown man commented, “It was one of the hardest swims I have ever done – there was a strong current and I just wanted to put the rest of the team in a good place.”

Francie Haughey also had a great swim, with a time of 0:30:17, and roughly a minute later, Sam was also up and out of the water, ready to face the arduous climb up through the Mournes on the bike course.

Paul put in a great performance on the bike, with his split coming in 10th overall time out of the 200+ competitors. He noted, “The wind was coming from all directions on the bike course, and the descent from Spelga Dam was pretty hairy too!” Paul proved he was more than a match for this challenging bike course, and passed the baton to Jason Thompson, who stormed the hilly 10k run in a time of 42:35, to put the TUNA relay in first place out of the relay teams, with an overall time of 2 hrs 29 minutes.

Soon Sam was also on the run, and ran up the nasty little hill to the finish with 02:51:26 on the clock. Edward was next TUNA home, with an excellent time of 03:11:24. He was followed by Adrian, who completed the beast of a course in a time 03:13:05. Francie Haughey also finished strongly, crossing the line with a time of 03:32:33.

Soon they were all enjoying the fantastic hospitality put on by the Newry Triathlon club, including delicious food and alcohol-free beer – what else would you serve to such dedicated athletes?

 

As predicted , the TUNAs have been out in full force all over the country – here’s a flavour of what has been happening.

Tri An Mhi Middle Distance – Saturday 13th June 2015

TUNA’s Malcolm Bourke made the journey to Lough Lene, Meath to take part in the challenging Tri and Mhi half iron distance race, involving a 1.9km lake swim (2 laps), 93km challenging and hilly bike with some villages to navigate through ( 2 laps) and an 21.1km undulating run.

Malcolm made his mark on the results board, with an excellent 23rd place out of 186 finishers. Malcolm covered the race in 05:09:19, with a swim time of 39:41, a nippy 02:50:08 on the bike, and a very quick half marathon time of 01:36:51. Excellent work Malcolm!

 

 

 

 

 

Blackrock Sprint Triathlon – Sunday 14th June 2015

TUNA were also well represented at this race in County Louth, organised by Setanta Triathlon Club, who certainly know how to put on a well organised and friendly race. The race suited both beginners and experience athletes as the course was fast and flat, and the sea swim was chest deep.

Fiona Murphy showed out for the TUNA females, and Francie Haughey sported the new TUNA tri suit in style as our male representative.

Fiona proved that her dedication and training this season is paying off, finishing 6th female overall in a fantastic time of 1hr 3min. This resulted in an age group win, well deserved with Fiona clocking the second fastest swim out of all 115 competitors in a lightning fast 9:26.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Francie Haughey also had a great swim, exiting the water in 10:55, setting him up for an impressive finish time of 1hr 12 min.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Derry Firmus Energy Sprint NS – Sunday 14th June

The ‘National Series’ Triathlon comprised a 750m open water swim in the River Foyle followed by a 20km closed road cycle culminating in a 5km flat run, taking in key attractions around the City including the iconic Peace Bridge.

There was an early start for the competitors, due to tides in River Foyle, resulting in them entering the water for 0815. Luckily, there were perfect conditions for racing, with the sun making an appearance and only a slight breeze.

TUNA was represented by Waringstown’s Phil Castles, now notorious on the triathlon scene for his tendency to mark the fastest bike split on any course he graces. This race was no exception, with Phil once again claiming the fastest time over the 20k bike course.

Phil finished 6th out of the 391 competitors with the fantastic time of1hr 6min, giving him the age group win. It will be very exciting to see how the rest of the season unfolds for this superstar of the TUNA club!

Causeway Coast Olympic Triathlon – Saturday 20th June 2015

The TUNAs were out in full force for this year’s incarnation of this popular and friendly race, with nine club members making the trip to the north coast. For a change, the sun was shining for this event, which is often blessed with our typical summer weather of wind and rain. On the day, the weather was very sunny and hot, with a light breeze on the bike. The sea was choppy for the swim start, so getting out to the first buoy proved to be challenging for all competitors. This involved a double lap exiting onto the beach each time which was interesting, and at least gave people a chance to catch their breath before facing into the second lap.

On the bike course, there were no surprises who proved to be the fastest wheels in the North, with Phil Castles once again claiming the honours of the fastest bike split of the day. This set the Waringstown man up for a great finish time of 2hrs 5 mins, and 4th place overall.

Roughly 10 minutes later, a flurry of TUNAs crossed the finish line in quick succession, with Paul McManus finishing strongly in 13th place with a time 2hr 14min, Craig Harrison in 20th at 2hr 16min, Gary McDonald  26th in  2hr 17min, and Jonathan Walker 29th in 2hr 19min. That’s 5 TUNAs in the top 30 – a great result for our modestly sized club!

 

 

 

 

They were soon joined by Sam Uprichard, in a time of 2hr 39min. The Lurgan native has struggled with an injury of late, but still didn’t want to miss out on this great event.  Christopher O’Carroll was the next TUNA home in a strong time of 2hr 47min, which bodes well for his training for Ironman 70.3 Dublin in August.

The TUNA contingent were soon cheering fellow club mates Jason Holmes and Adrian Woolsey across the line, with times of 2hr 58min and 3hr 1min respectively.

 

 

Around the Rock – Sunday 28th June 2015

This popular event consists of a1.5km sea swim around the Gannaway rock in Carlingford bay, Warrenpoint. Again, the club was well represented, with six TUNAs turning out on the beach in sunny conditions at Warrenpoint to take on the challenge.

 

First TUNA out of the water was Paul McManus, with an impressive time of  22.47 for the 1500 metres.

He was soon joined by Francie Haughey in 24.04. Next in was Jason Thompson, in 28.08, with Joe Hendron following soon after in 28.53. Alfie Donnelly and Chris O’Carroll stuck together for the swim, and finished in an excellent 29.20. These two are shaping up well for their trip to Ironman 70.3 Dublin in August.

 

 

Peninsula Sea Sprint Triathlon – Sunday 28th June 2015

In the north of County Down, four more TUNAs were taking part in the Peninsula Sea Sprint Triathlon, organised by Peninsula Triathlon Club. Ballywalter was also basking in sunshine, with a nice head wind for half the cycle to give the competitors a bit of a challenge. The sea swim was also challenging, with the swimmers having to contend with a strong current.

First TUNA out of the water was Phil Castles, smashing the swim in an excellent time of 12.51 for the 750m course. This set the Waringstown man up very nicely for the bike course, where once again he recorded the fastest time over the 20k distance, with a blistering 32.43 bike split. This was topped off  with a 18.49 5k run, placing him in 3rd place overall, with a finish time of 1:06:27.

Craig Harrison was the next TUNA over the line, recording an excellent time of 1:12:49 – this placed the Lurgan native in 15th place overall. Craig is becoming a permanent fixture in the top 20 of local races, proving that his training and dedication is paying off.

Craig was followed by Paul Skelly in 1:15:59 and David Mc Cready in 01:26:46, both superbly representing the club with their strong finishes.

July will see even more TUNAs in action in even more races, with great challenges such as Top of the Mourne and Brown’s Bay Beast, as well as the ever popular Titanic Triathlon in Belfast.

The race season is now in full swing, and TUNA members are flat out racing and training. From here on in it appears that TUNA will be competing every weekend, flying the TUNA flag with flashes of pink everywhere. We are going from strength to strength, which is down to all the hard work and dedication our coach, Dwyer, puts into us all. This is shown in our recent results and it looks like TUNA really means business this year, with the top 20 being occupied with TUNA members every meeting.

May was a busy month for TUNA, even at this early stage of the triathlon season. Special mentions to Jason Wilson who won the Camlough Try a Tri and to young Emily Cantley who finished 4th Female in the 13-15yr old race at Lough Cutra Triathlon, Galway .It’s great to see new members getting stuck in to the racing season, and doing so well!

Liam Ball Sprint 3/5/15

Phil Castles got his National Series competition off to a flying start, with a 5th place overall at the 30th anniversary edition of this early season pool swim event in the Maiden city.

His race was off to a great start, with a speedy swim of 12:31 for the 750m. This was followed by his trademark fastest bike split of the day, a scorching 30:46 for the 20k, not put off at all by the wet and windy conditions. Phil topped it off with a 5k run of 19:24, giving him a fantastic finish time of 01:03:54. A very promising start to the season for the Waringstown man!

Roe Valley Sprint Triathlon 9/5/15

Three TUNA competitors were among the record number of 210 athletes who made their way to Limavady to enjoy blustery conditions over the 30 length swim, 20K bike ride and 5K run. There were 7 heats each containing 30 keen triathletes, some experienced, some doing their first ever triathlon but all of them grateful to the enthusiastic and friendly marshals who ensured the day went according to plan.

First TUNA home was Craig Harrison, finishing in 20th place with the amazing time of 1 hr 9min. Craig has been training hard in the off season, especially in the Thursday night pool sessions, and his efforts are definitely paying off. He was followed by fellow TUNA Paul Skelly, finishing strongly in a time of 1hr 13mins. David Mc Cready was across the finish line with the great time of 1hr 23 mins.

Mallorca Ironman 70.3 9/5/2015

While some of his fellow TUNAs were enduring the fresher winds of Limavady, Jason Holmes was competing in the ever popular Mallorca Ironman 70.3, along with 3500 international competitors. The weather was a little better here, with sea temperatures of 21 degrees and 30 degrees sunshine by the time the competitors hit the run section. Jason completed the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle (including a trip up a mountain) and the 13.1 mile run in an excellent time of 7hrs 40min. Excellent work Jason – great to see that all the training paid off!

Camlough Try A Tri 24/5/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now in its fifth year, this excellent introductory event to whet appetites for triathlons is renowned as one of the friendliest races around, suitable for all abilities. The distances covered were 250m swim, 6k bike and 3k run – perfect for those still honing their triathlon skills, and those dipping their toes into the competitive triathlon scene.

A great team of TUNAs made their way to the starting line for this event, and represented the club with excellent performances all round. Special mention must go to Jason Wilson, coming 1st overall in a time of 33min – a great achievement! Also showing up strong for the TUNA ladies was Oonagh Murphy, who was 2nd lady to finish in a time of 41 mins. Alfred Donnelly showed new TUNA member Mark Miskelly the way around the course, with both finishing in a superb 38mins. They were soon followed by Graeme McCluskey, giving a great account of himself with a time of 40min. Joe Hendron was cheered across the line by his TUNA teammates with a great time of 52min.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blathnaid Hendron also made a great showing in the junior race, as second girl home. Great going Blathnaid!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lough Cutra Triathlon, Galway 24/5/2015

TUNA was also represented further afield on 24th May, as Emily Cantley from Banbridge turned out for the 13-15yr old race at Lough Cutra. The distances covered were 300m swim, 8km Bike and 2km run. Emily showed her strength and determination by finishing 4th female across the finish line, and 18th overall.

As well as this excellent representation from our junior section, two other TUNAs were flying the colours at the Cultra Castle Triathlon. In the half iron distance race known as ‘The Gauntlet’, Edward Cantley finished in a fantastic 6hrs 13min, and Franchie Haughey in an excellent 7hrs 36min. It’s great to see TUNAs popping up at races all over the country. June will see the season really kicking off, so the black and pink of TUNA will be appearing all over the country soon!

 

Saturday 19th July saw  Salthill being  invaded by an army of triathletes, swimmers and runners from across the country with their sights set on competing at the Galway Triathlon Club Aquathon Festival, including a quartet of TUNAs, who also happen to be in an even more exclusive club – the Hendron family. Joe, Iarlaith, Ros and Blathnaid joined hundreds of athletes who swam and ran their way over varying distances in Galway Bay and on the prom to eventually cross the finish line in Celia Davin Park.

The three elder Hendrons took part in the Standard event of a 1km Swim and 5k run. Iarlaith took the bragging rights in the household, crossing the line in an excellent time of 0.54.56, although Joe was first Hendron out of the water with a great swim time of 23.11 for the 1k. Ros was soon joining them, with a great time of 1.02.08. “It was a great experience, and I was glad the young ones didn’t beat me out of the water!” said Joe. Blathnaid took part in the Junior Aquathon, and put in a great swim and run to finish in 29.42.

On Saturday 26th July, TUNA was represented by no less than 6 triathletes in the infamous ‘Browns Bay Beast’ Triathlon in Islandmagee, billed as one of the toughest Olympic distance races in Ireland. The event comprised a 1.5K swim followed by a very undulating and demanding 40K bike and 2 lap hilly 10K run.

Top of the heap of TUNAs was once again Philip Castles, who came 7th overall, with an amazing time of 2.09.06 in total. The race was then on between Sam Uprichard and Gary Mc Donald, who came out of the water almost at the same time. Gary demonstrated that training for longer distances does not always mean sacrificing speed, as the Laurelvale Ironman smashed the bike and run course to finish 15th overall, with a time of 2.21.12. Gary commented, “I’ve been working hard on the bike over the last few months, and have been struggling with an injury when running, so I was delighted with the time”.

Another TUNA who is going long distance this season, but still boasts great speed over the shorter distances is Stephen Mc Conaghy. Stephen finished ‘The Beast’ in a time of 2.26.12 – all eyes on the Lurgan man for his Ironman debut in Mallorca in September – he is sure to impress!

Next TUNA over the line was Paul Skelly, with a great performance in a time of 2.34.58. He was then joined byDromara’s David Mc Cready, who finished strongly in a time of 2.48.53. David commented “I fancied the challenge of completing this race, as it is known for being a tough one – I’m glad to say I beat the beast in the end!”.

Finally, TUNA was also represented by Jason Wilson at the ‘Great Ulster Swim’ in Camlough Lake, County Armagh. 176 competitors from 8 – 80+ took part in this 1 mile swim. Lurgan man Jason demonstrated his talent in the water, coming 14th overall, with a time of 25.19 for the mile. Well done Jason!

 

Members of TUNA triathlon club took the opportunity to race in one of the most picturesque races on the local calendar – The Glenarm Dalriada Triathlon.

This race is unique in local triathlon, being held on a Wednesday evening. It features a 750m sea swim, followed by an 18km cycle of two of Antrim’s famous nine glens – up Glencloy and down Glenarm. The 5k run then takes in one of Ireland’s oldest estates and finishes in the Earl of Antrim’s back garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In attendance on this damp and windy evening were Philip Castles, Sam Uprichard and Craig Harrison. Philip and Craig had competed in the City of Derry Triathlon only 3 days before, and were keen to get racing again.

The sea swim was choppy, but proved to be little bother to these hardy competitors. Phil was first TUNA on dry land in 12.52, followed by Sam in 14.04, and Craig in 16.58. As a triathlete in his first season, Craig made an excellent start and his swim is improving all the time. The Lurgan man commented, “The open water practice sessions with the club have really helped me with my confidence and my stamina in the water.”

Next up was the formidable bike route, with a grinding climb all the way to the top of Glencloy. This trio didn’t take time to enjoy the sea view on the return leg, however, with speedy times all round. Phil took the honours of fastest bike split, which is almost expected of him these days! The big man from Waringstown said, “My cycling is going well at the minute, and I loved pushing hard to the top of that hill, and then flying down the other side!”

Finally, the guys moved on to the out and back run in the grounds of Glenarm Castle, where Phil blasted across the finish line in a time of 01:09:42, to take third place in the men’s race. Sam was next TUNA home with a fantastic time of 01:19:26, and Craig followed soon after in 01:20:53. All three TUNAs finished within the top 30 men on the night, which was a great result.

In other news, one of our new members, Richard Curlett, took part in his first ever triathlon on Friday 18th July; the Tri Limits Eskragh Lough Sprint in Dungannon. Richard has made his first steps into open water swimming in the last two months, and reported that he thoroughly enjoyed his first race. Richard commented, “There was a very friendly and supportive atmosphere, and I felt great when I crossed the finish line. I can’t wait until the next one!”  Great work Richard!

 

It was another great turn out for TUNA at the Causeway Coast Triathlon in Portrush on Saturday 21st June. It was an early start on an uncharacteristically pleasant day for those making the journey to the North Coast event – normally this race ends up taking place in hurricane like conditions!

6TUNAs entered the individual race, with another 3 making up the “Harrison’s Heroes” relay team. As is customary, Philip Castles was first TUNA over the line, taking 6th place overall with a time of 2.04.09. The Waringstown man had the second fastest bike split of the day, taking a mere 58.11 to cover the 40k coastal route through Bushmills and the surrounding area. Phil said, “The bike course was fantastic and I really enjoyed the competition out there!”

Competition was more heated for the position of 2nd TUNA to finish, with Laurelvale’s  Gary Mc Donald and Lurgan’s Sam Uprichard going head to head for the accolade. Sam carved out an advantage in the swim and first transition, which Gary mostly recovered on the bike, leaving it to the 10k run to decide the winner. Even though Gary was 22 seconds faster over the distance, Sam’s speedy transitions made the difference, and he crossed the line 13 seconds ahead of Gary, with finish times of 2.17.29 and 2.17.42 respectively.

Next to finish was Richard Patterson, crossing the line with a great time of 2.36.06. Richard noted the difficulty of the run course, commenting “the run to the finish on the soft sand nearly killed me!” He was soon followed by Portadown man Niall Stewart, who claimed a PB for the Olympic distance with a time of 2.44.34. Fellow Portadown resident Steve Young was next to finish strongly for the TUNA club with a time of 2.51.34.

A special mention must go to the relay competitors, made up of Jason Thompson for the swim, Craig Harrison for the cycle, and Alfie Donnelly on the run, who won the relay race on the day.

TUNA results in full (swim/bike/run/finish time)

Philip Castles      00:24:22 00:58:11 00:39:15 02:04:09

Sam Uprichard 00:26:50 01:05:02 00:42:50 02:17:29

Gary McDonald 00:27:46 01:04:07 00:42:28 02:17:42

Richard Patterson 00:27:10 01:11:15 00:53:40 02:36:06

Niall Stewart 00:30:23 01:14:51 00:54:38 02:44:34

Steve Young 00:32:09 01:23:47 00:51:16 02:51:34

Team Harrisons Heroes 00:27:00 01:06:00 00:47:58 02:23:31

 

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