1000 triathletes set to contest Triathlon Ireland National Championships
The 2015 Standard Distance National Championships is shaping up to be a truly epic race as top talent lines up at the Vodafone Dublin City Triathlon.
The Category 1 athletes, racing in Round 5 of the Triathlon Ireland Super Series will battle it out over a 1500 metre swim, 5-lap 40 kilometre draft-legal bike followed by a 10 kilometre run, all performed in the heart of Dublin’s Phoenix Park. The Age Group National Championships takes place in advance with almost 1000 competing throughout the morning session.
The Category 1 men’s race features 60 starters and includes some formidable names. Among the favourites will be U23 Elite, Russell White (23) who is going in search of his first National Title. The Bainbridge triathlete has focused primarily on international racing while studying in Scotland but has returned home with ambitions of finishing on the top step of the podium.
Asked about his hopes for the National Championships, White said: “It was great to win the Lough Neagh Super Series Triathlon but I want to make it two wins in a row and pick up the national title."
Being a draft legal event whereby athletes are allowed to work in pelotons on the bike it will make the race more tactical than the non-drafting format typically seen in Ireland. Cork man,Chris Mintern (21) is a fellow Irish Squad member and will be hoping to be out of the water near the front in order to form a break-away partnership with White during the bike leg. Once onto the run all alliances will be forgotten in the footrace to the finish.
Another Westport triathlete and fellow Irish team-mate, Aichlinn O’Reilly (20) has shown some impressive form this season. O’Reilly is fresh from a win at the Ballinrobe 2 Day bike race and finished 2nd to Rio Olympic hopeful, Bryan Keane at the Hell of the West triathlon.
Former Junior World Bronze Medallist, Con Doherty (20) has raced sparingly this season and is just returning to competitive action after a bike crash in training, but cannot be discounted come race day. Doherty has blistering pace on the run and will be a major threat if he can enter the second transition with the leaders.
Another Irish Squad member, Kieran Jackson (19) is also taking to the start line. The Waterford native, training at the University of Limerick missed almost two seasons through illness but is back with a bang as his training numbers indicate he’s on the rise again. Jackson is strong across all three disciplines but may be lacking the endurance required for the Standard Distance due to his lack of training miles over the past 2 years.
GoTri’s Rory Sexton (21), a two-time Aquathlon National Champion, will be in the mix also as will Baku European Games competitor, Aaron O’Brien (20) who is just returning to competitive action following a broken foot sustained in that race.
The Triathlon Ireland Super Series race and National Championships has also attracted an international cohort with British Triathlon Elite, Richard Horton (22) taking to the start line. Horton poses a considerable challenge to the Irish triathletes being a former Junior European and U23 World Duathlon Champion with speed to burn over the bike and run.
Loughborough University Performance Squad triathlete, Chris Hine (21) has also thrown his name in the ring for the Vodafone Dublin City Triathlon podium.
The Category 1 women’s race will follow immediately after the men’s event and features an equally talented field.
2014 National Champion, Carolyn Hayes (27) opted to skip Round 4 of the Triathlon Ireland Super Series in Lough Neagh in order to fully prepare for the Vodafone Dublin City Triathlon as she looks to retain her title. Hayes is strong across all three disciplines and has experience racing the draft legal format from her many Elite European Cup appearances.
Susanna Murphy (32), living in Dublin, will be another of the pre-race favourites. Murphy has been one of Ireland’s leading triathletes at European Cup level this season with a 14th place finish in her last outing. Living in Dublin, Murphy is familiar with the phoenix Park course which should provide a competitive advantage come race day.
Kenmare’s Rachel Hawker (21) has two Super Series podium finishes to her name already this season and being a strong swimmer if she can hang with the leaders over the opening 1500 metres it will put her in a great position for the bike and run. Rachel Clancy (27) from Limerick,Caoimhe Ni Mhurchu (36) from Sligo and Eimear Fitzmaurice (31) will be pushing for podium finishes also.
Like the men’s race, the women’s race has attracted some international competitors in the form of UK based, Team Freespeed triathlete, Dionne Allen (25). Allen from the University of Birmingham has a 10 kilometre PB of 36:04 so is likely to be a contender if she can keep pace over the swim and bike.