Con Doherty and Carolyn Hayes are the 2018 Triathlon Ireland Standard (Olympic) Distance National Champions following victory at the Base2Race Harbourman Triathlon in Wicklow.
The pair came out on top of a field of hundreds of athletes, who raced in the sweltering heat in what was also Round 6 of the 2018 BMW Triathlon National Series.
Temperatures reached 28c during the race, which saw competitors swim 1,500m, bike 40km and run 10km.
And that heat took its toll – with light winds making the run particularly gruelling.
The Men’s Race
A rolling start to the 1,500m allowed athletes to enter the race at their own pace but towards the front of the field there was no holding back as the main contenders ran from the strand inside Wicklow harbour into perfectly calm waters.
Seconds Apart After the Swim
Kieran Jackson took an early lead on the swim but hampered by a wrong turn surrendered first position to teenager Cillian Tierney who bettered his rivals by more than 30secs when exiting the water. Behind him a pack containing Jackson, Aichlinn O’Reilly, James Walton and defending champion Con Doherty vied for position and entered T1 within a handful of seconds of one another.
On the bike, Jackson battled his way back to first position but he had close company with Con Doherty never letting his friend and fellow High Performance athlete out of his sight.
Doherty Runs into 1st place
Doherty made what is becoming a trademark move coming out of T2, blasting the first part of the 10km run to gap Jackson who was labouring with a stitch. By the time the men had reached the halfway mark of the 10km run, Doherty’s lead was cemented and he crossed the line to comfortably retain his Standard Distance National Championship title with a time of 2hrs 5secs.
While Jackson had slowed behind him, he was never under any pressure for silver and crossed the line almost four minutes later.
Meanwhile the battle for third was changing hands. After leading the race in the early stages, Cillian Tierney suffered calamity in the hot run and found himself struggling just to finish out the race. Aichlinn O’Reilly entered T2 in 3rd place but also found himself troubled by the heat of a windless and shadowless day. He was overtaken by Eoin Lyons, who ran a superb 36mins 09sec 10km to claim the bronze medal in the men’s National Championships.
The Women’s Race
The women’s race saw the return of multiple times national champion Carolyn Hayes to top-level racing. She took an early lead on the swim that she never looked likely to relinquish as she posted the quickest swim and run splits of the day to finish the race with a time of 2hrs 15mins 58secs.
Behind her, Cork Triathlon Club’s Amy O’Keeffe swam 23mins 28secs over the 1,500m to move into second place but later in the race was losing time to Ellen Murphy of Belpark TC – the day’s quickest biker with a time of 1hr 10mins 28secs.
Murphy moved into second place during the 10km run to claim the silver medal at this distance for the second year running with a time of 2hrs 25mins 07secs. It was a close run affair however, with Amy O’Keeffe crossing the line just 1min 07secs later to claim bronze.
Photo Credit: Damien Jackson