Safety, sunshine and social distancing – all three elements were in abundance as triathlon made a sizzling return to Kilkenny on Sunday.
The long-awaited comeback of the multisport event was hailed a success as Kilkenny Triathlon Club hosted their popular race in the Marble City.
After seeing the 2020 season wiped out through the coronavirus pandemic, KTC were one of the first club’s in the country to host a race in the 2021 calendar, albeit with some changes.
With the country making a tentative comeback from Covid-19 restrictions, months of hard work went into making sure the event ran smoothly and safely.
One of the first races to be held under Triathlon Ireland sanctions this year, the welfare of the competitors was key. The number of participants was capped at lower levels than in the past, while a new transition area and run route helped the club to maintain social distancing among athletes and allow the general public space to enjoy the amenities of the Castle Park uninterrupted.
Triathlon can be a tough sport and Sunday’s event -where people took on a 750m swim, 20km cycle and a 5km run – was made even more challenging by the high temperature which saw the city swelter.
It made for a harder race but, despite the heat, all who came to Kilkenny agreed on one thing – it was good to be back!
The conditions did little to hamper Darren Dunne. The Nenagh Triathlon Club member steamed his way through the swim, set a blistering pace on Kilkenny’s roads for the bike section and scorched through the 5k run in the Castle Park to take first place, earning the handmade Jerpoint Glass trophy and a cash prize.
The prestigious H Cup, which is awarded to the top junior, went to Charlotte Moore, who was the first female across the line. In what was a real family affair her twin sister Olivia took the final podium spot when coming home as the third female finisher.
While Dunne was the first athlete across the line, he wasn’t the only winner – the day was just as successful.
“This event went ahead through a massive effort, not just from the club but the wider community,” said John McDermott, KTC chairman. “It was so heartening to see so many people racing in the Castle Park, from those who came all over Ireland to our own new club members here in Kilkenny.
“We’d like to thank the Office of Public Works, Kilkenny Co Council, the Gardaí, Order of Malta, Kilkenny Water Safety, Kilkenny Aqua Canoe Club and Kilkenny Sub Aqua, our supporters and sponsors.
“The Castle Park came into its own for this event,” he said. “How lucky we are to be able to show off the beauty of our city for this race.
“We’d also send a special thanks to our club members who volunteered to help with the event and our race director Howard Triggs,” the chairman added. “It took a huge effort, but through everyone’s involvement we were able to run this race safely. Roll on 2022!”
Men’s Top 20 – 1 Darren Dunne (Nenagh Triathlon Club), 1:01:50; 2 Paul Ogle (Waterford TC), 1:04:25; 3 Enda Bagnall (Eden TC), 1:05:07; 4 Luke Burke (Predator), 1:05:26; 5 John Rourke, 1:05:27; 6 Ciarán Madden (Longford TC), 1:06:18; 7 Justin Ryan (Tried And Tested), 1:07:52; 8 Ryan Mann, 1:08:20; 9 Clifford Rodgers, 1:08:57; 10 Aubrey Storey (Waterford TC), 1:09:17; 11 Shane O’Neill (Belpark Tri), 1:10:10; 12 James Griffin (Waterford TC), 1:10:13; 13 Daire Nulty (Pulse TC), 1:10:50; 14 Mark Milligan (Trilogy), 1:11:07; 15 Michael Bishop (Belpark Tri), 1:11:31; 16 Toby Bedell (Tried & Tested), 1:12:25; 17 Steven Brew (Trilogy TC), 1:12:37; 18 Luciano Licciardello (Naas TC), 1:12:42; 19 Ciarán O’Connor (Waterford TC), 1:12:52; 20 Kevin McDonnell, 1:13:16.
Women’s Top 20 – 1 Charlotte Moore, 1:12:57; 2 Ciara Wilson, 1:13:57; 3 Olivia Moore, 1:15:18; 4 Olivia McCartin (Athlone TC), 1:16:29; 5 Ciara Rooney (Belpark Tri), 1:17:42; 6 Danielle O’Riordan (Piranha TC), 1:18:48; 7 Zoe Greene (Piranha TC), 1:18:50; 8 Rosie Conway (Racing 795), 1:19:18; 9 Monica Corcoran (Trilogy), 1:20:06; 10 Nicola Moroney (Tried And Tested), 1:20:24; 11 Isabelle Cairns (Belpark Tri), 1:21:49; 12 Monica Freiband (Kilkenny TC), 1:22:11; 13 Amelia Drumm (Louletano), 1:23:17; 14 Elaine Gibson (Racing795), 1:24:32; 15 Niamh Curran (Kilkenny TC), 1:25:20; 16 Mary Walsh (Naas TC), 1:26:41; 17 Carmel Fitzgibbon (Collins TC), 1:27:10; 18 Martina McIntyre, 1:27:49; 19 Aimee Carr-Hannon (Pulse TC), 1:27:59; 20 Maeve Corry, 1:28:08.