Home News Morrisson is best of the Irish in Turkey

Morrisson is best of the Irish in Turkey


None The Irish team returned from Turkey on Sunday. Returning with some great results from a tough race, noteably a 13th place for Aileen Morrison, a great result in her first competition at a World level. Please read on…… Our team of five, four athletes and National Coach Chris Jones, came back from Turkey with some great results, and some valuable experience. Aileen Morrison continued on from her debut success in the Czech Republic, with a 13th place. The team pulled together in difficult circumstances, especially with the amount of travelling (20 hours outbound) and the heat (average of 34 degrees), with every team member helping others, and creating a real ‘Team Ireland’ spirit. The women’s team was missing selected athletes Emma Davis, and our new National Champion Rachel Boyd.

Our development programme has grown stronger over this year, demonstrated by us being able to field a team at events such as these. The work of Triathlon Ireland, through National Coach Chris Jones, and others assisting with High Performance, is progressing well. Our athletes ‘on the circuit’, Emma Davis, and Gavin Noble, have provided motivation and inspiration to our development athletes, who are now starting to join them in European Cup level races. With the results from the World University Championships, Ireland have had two top 15 results at World Level in 2008 so far. With the first European Cup in the Republic coming up in Athlone in two weeks, we look forward to the future.

Irish Results – 9th World University Championships

Women’s race
Aileen Morrison (University of Ulster) 13th
Men’s race
David Graham (University of Bath) 47th
Colin Bolger (DIT) 50th
Owen Dwyer(Trinity) DNF

For full results click here.

Race report from Aileen Morrison

The four of us were delighted to be selected to represent Ireland in the World Student Triathlon Championships in Erdek, Turkey. Thanks all those involved, including our respective Universities, Triathlon Ireland and Chris Jones, TI head coach and team manager.

After 5am start and two flights we wait 3 hrs in the airport for the rest of the teams to arrive. This was followed by a 6hr bus journey, and we arrive at our hotel at 3am. With a scheduled cycle for 9am and the late night heat we build our bikes before we slept, allowing the air con to kick in.

In the morning we find out the bike course is one big hill, up and down, dead turn, up and down- back to start and another dead turn, 8 laps, that makes 16 climbs! Very tough, and intense heat on top of that. The sea is nice and cool but not enough for wetsuits, and the run is flat out and back 4 laps on the beach promenade. The main aim will be not to dehydrate, and to survive the heat. The women’s field has some big names and if I can stick with the lead pack on the swim It will be a great start. If I don’t, it could be very tough cycle.

At night myself and the boys get a bite to eat in town, and I supervise Owen shaving his legs for the first time.

Pre race nerves were eased by Chris’s reassurance, the boys and myself are glad we have someone so organised and who knows his stuff. We started in the water as there were too many for a pontoon start (55) and I got off well with no-one climbing on top of me. Made it round the first buoy well, but realised I didn’t have the good start I thought when I saw so many in front of me. On the next buoy a girl grabbed my togs and pulled me back and under. I panicked and ended up swimming wide of the buoys for a while, meaning I wasn’t in anyone’s wake water (to save energy). I exited the water with the second group and had a good transition to stick with them unto the bike. Chris shouts were 1min 15 down on the lead group. If we’re to catch them it’ll be hard work. Next lap we’re 55sec down, every lap we gained time, and dropped 3-4 people from our 15 person group. On lap4 I got dropped on the climb and cycled by myself for 2 laps, before being caught by the third group, which consisted of those who had been dropped and two girls who had come through from the back, excellent cyclists. Meanwhile that chase pack I was in caught the lead group! If I’d been able to stick in there I’d be in with a chance on the run, damn. Two more laps of tough cycling and just to hold on to those girls took all my effort on the climbs. Finally transition comes and I manage to sneak up the inside with my shoes off already (lesson learned from Czech Rep race).

On the run I drink a few gulps from the bottle and pour the rest over myself to cool off. This plan works, and I passed easily 15 people on the run, with my trainers squelching as I ran, the recent foot injury didn’t bother me. I finished in 13th place catching people from the lead group. I was pleased with my run, and disappointed with my swim, as I should have done better, and need to learn to deal with the pressure of people around me in the water. I was most pleased with my bike, but I also know I can get better, so this too is something to be pleased about!

As I lay getting massaged by two Turkish men in the athlete lounge I have a great view of the men’s race getting under way. They finish their work in time for me to watch David out of the water well placed, followed a minute later by Colin, with Owen in the last group, he could be lucky and find a few good cyclists to help make it up to the other groups, something that’s impossible on your own. Colin has an amazing transition and makes it into the third group with David after a few laps. David like me suffered on a climb and was dropped from that group. Owen has to work by himself to try to make up some ground, but is eventually caught by a hard working lead group containing some excellent cyclists. A fate worse than ‘puncture’, Owen must retire, but takes it on the chin, knowing he gave it his all, (and that’s all you can do).

Colin and David head out onto the run, and the heat has taken its toll. Colin throws up whilst running, but eventually has to stop to do it again. David catches him up again, but he’s suffering from stomach cramps. Like me they’re both glad to finish having ‘survived the heat’ as a number of both men and women are taken to hospital because of dehydration and or heat exhaustion.

We all had an excellent time, and we each had lessons learned for future training, competition and travel.