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Eireman Tri Festival – Courtown 23rd August 2009

The inaugural Eireman Long (Ironman) /Middle(Half Ironman)/Olympic/Sprint Triathlon took place on the 23rd August 2009 with great anticipation for the 795’ers on their relatively local turf.

Some of our crew in sunny Courtown

Some of our crew in sunny Courtown

In all 8 from Racing 795 completed the course namely Jim, James, Peter(Half Ironman) Martin (Olympic), Barry, PJ, Aisling and Siobhan (Sprint) took part.

The gales that blew on Saturday didn’t bode well for Sundays’ race and so it came to be…. the much anticipated swim was cancelled by the RNLI Coastguard to gasps of disappointment from some and quiet sighs of relief from others. (Anybody want an unworn recently acquired wetsuit?).

And so triathlon became duathlon- the swim was replaced with a 4 km run for the Half Ironman setting off 2 hours late at 8.30am and a 2km run for both the Olympic and the Sprint setting off approximately 2 hours later with staggered starts.

So first off the Half Ironmen of James, Jim and Peter did their 2 laps of the block to replace their swim, James kindly stopping for the paparazzi and to give interviews on his way into T1 and onto the bike leg on the closed motorway of 90, 93 or 97km, depending on your source. Jim completed the run in 18.32 and Peter in 19.38.

Meanwhile the Olympic race began with Martin completing his 2km starting run in just over 6 minutes and out onto the 40km bike leg on the motorway.

Back in the Sprint, competition was fast and furious with ‘Rubberman’ Barry and PJ psyching each other out at the start line. For the first 2km run leg Barry completed in 6.30, PJ in 6.31, Siobhan and Aisling in 7.31 and 7.37 respectively.

The wind tunnel effect of the motorway – not quite the flat fast course we expected, meant that the bike leg was a testing duel of mind over matter with no drafting (or any) marshals on the motorway to prohibit same. On a positive note, the closed motorway was great to ride on, if a bit grueling. Martin completed the bike leg in 1.07 for the Olympic distance, in the Sprint PJ in 38.12, Barry in 40.07, Aisling shedding her non aero-dynamic jacket on the motorway to complete in a time of 45.35 and Siobhan in 47.24.

(Incidentally, PJ Dunne maintaining his title of ‘Transition King’ earned in Clogherhead with the 4th fastest T2 for both Sprint and Olympic distance- at an astonishing 35 seconds- PJ we all want lessons!)

The run leg was through Courtown wood- a good location, with a vertical- yes, really- climb which was personally easier to go up than come back down, but with 4 races running concurrently, a bit crowded with some collisions along the route- some athletes not being able to work out what ‘keep left’ meant. Martin completed the 10k in 46.33 for an overall finish in 13th place in a time of 2.01.52.

In the Sprint, PJ ran the 5k in 26.13, Barry in 30.49, Aisling in 32.09 and Siobhan in 35.34.

In the Sprint race PJ finished in a time of 1.12.31 in 10th place, with Barry completing in 1.20.00 in 50th place, Aisling in a time of 1.27.46 in85th place and Siobhan in a time of 1.32.57 in 96th place. Out of a field of 142 finishers, the 795’ers are moving well up the ranks.

Back with the Half Ironman (Middle) distance, Jim completed in 5 hours 31 minutes after a gruelling 3hours12 min bike and a sub 2hr half marathon in 84th place out of a field of almost 220. Peter finished not far behind in just over 5 hours 46 mins after a 3hr18min bike leg and just over 2hrs half marathon in 117th place, James deciding to focus his Ironman efforts on sunny Barcelona in October instead of rainy Courtownin August.

Well done to all particularly PJ and Martin who both achieved top 20 places. For what was a tough days racing it’s great to see the efforts paying off. For the Racing 795 view on the Eireman Festival itself, judging from reports, the experiences didn’t appear as negative as some ofthe other athletes. Hopefully Eireman will happen again next year in some form, it was great to be so close to a race when you usually travel for hours – but perhaps lessons will be learned from this years’ event to make it more successful in 2010.

Siobhan Mimnagh

Note: All results provisional as per Eireman website

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