Hundreds flock to East Galway for Loughrea Triathlon Festival 2017

Wave 1 of the men’s sprint race gets the go ahead at Long Point in Loughrea Lake. Photo: Larry Morgan.

Loughrea was awash with smiles, splashes and club colours as the 12th edition of the Loughrea Triathlon Festival came to a memorable conclusion.

From the early morning the 250 youth competitors braved the toughest weather of the day, while the 450 adult racers enjoyed the afternoon’s perfect racing conditions in the environs of the Co Galway town.

Caron Ryan crosses the line as overall women’s winner at last weekend’s Loughrea Triathlon Festival. Photo: Larry Morgan.

There was great celebrations as local racer, Caron Ryan, of the Predator Triathlon Club claimed first place in the women’s race in a stunning time of 1:08:13, while two of the podium places in the men’s race also went to athletes from the east Galway club.

First out of the water in the men’s race, Ben Ryan, finished a close second to eventual winner Odhran Ryan (North West Triathlon Club) who completed the challenging course in 1:01:52, while another Predator, Tiernan Burke, claimed third place in the men’s sprint race.

This year’s race also saw the club host the National Para-triathlon Championships, while Predator also held a para-triathlon relay for the first time ever in Europe. The para relay proved to be the tightest finish of the afternoon’s races with just 19 seconds separating first and second place. The eventful winners in a time of 1:11:29 were Merit Medical 3, a team that included Maurice Boyle, Hugo Costa and Patrick Monahan.

Some of the para-triathletes are helped to the start line by Predator Triathlon Club volunteers and Triathlon Ireland helpers. Photo: John O’Connor.

Tojo Lazzari was the first para-triathlete home in an excellent time of 1:16:14, but he was soon followed by Catherine Walsh and Donnacha McCarthy.

The race distance was completed in the quickest time (1:01:03) by relay and corporate relay champions, Galway Bay FM Warriors. Conor Smith completed the swim for their team in 10:53, before Galway Bay FM DJ, Donal Mahon, took to the bike for a brilliant second leg (30:04) on the 20km hilly course, while the teams was anchored home by runner Ger Hartnett in 17:36.

The women sprint racers wait for the starting whistle. Photo: John O’Connor.

But perhaps the highlight of the day’s racing was the hundreds of young racers that took to the waters and roads on Sunday morning. Held in the shallow waters of Loughrea Lake, the young swimmers impressed with their technique, while their bike handling and running was also hugely impressive.

First home in the Age 7-9 race was local racer, Amelie Bocquet, while winner of the boys race was was Aidan McGrane. The Age 10-11 honours were claimed by Mathys Bocquet and Grace Byrne, while Ross McGuinness and Aoife McGouran finished first in the Ages 12-13 race.

There was more fierce competition in the Age 14-15 competition, which saw Ennis Triathlon Club’s, Sabian Kulczynski, first across the line ahead of Daniel Saunders and Jack Kennedy. The girls 14-15 race saw Ella Doherty claim first place with more than a minute to spare over Sarah Condron and Elia Tutty.

Some of the cyclists tackle the tricky 20km course around Loughrea. Photo: Larry Morgan.

Competitors on the bike and run through the outskirts of Loughrea were hugely impressed with the reception they received from locals who came out to show their support along the route, and race organisers paid tribute to the town’s residents who welcomed the race and its competitors once again.

“It was great to see how the residents of Loughrea and its surrounding areas came out to support us. Without their co-operation and understanding the day’s festival would not be possible,” said race director Tomás Mangan.

“I would also like to thanks our wonderful sponsors, who once again put their hands in their pockets to make sure our race went ahead. We appreciate their help hugely.

“The work our dedicated team of marshals was vital to the race going off smoothly. On behalf of the race committee and all the competitions, I thank them for their efforts.”

Transition is a buzz ahead of the afternoon’s big race. Photo: Larry Morgan.