Picture Special - Roe Valley Sprint Triathlon

‘PAIN IS JUST A CONVERSATION...... between your mind and your body’.

So says Chrissie Wellington, the greatest female endurance triathlete in the world and that was the motto behind the Roe Valley Sprint Triathlon organised by the Triangle Triathlon Club, hosted by the Roe Valley Leisure Centre and sponsored by Xperience and Fletcher Torrens.

Maureen Donnelly in action during Saturday's Roe Valley Sprint Triathlon. (1505PG13)

Maureen Donnelly in action during Saturday's Roe Valley Sprint Triathlon. (1505PG13)

Record numbers of 210 flocked to the heart of the Roe Valley to enjoy blustery conditions over the 30 length swim, the 20K bike ride and the 5K run. There were 19 competitors from the Triangle Club and many more from all over the country taking part in this traditional curtain season raiser for the Ulster Branch of Triathlon Ireland. There were 7 heats each containing 30 keen triathletes, some experienced, some doing their first ever triathlon but all of them grateful to the enthusiastic and friendly marshals who ensured the day went smoothly. The overall winners were Taryn McCoy from the Peninsula Triathlon Club and Paul Carroll from the Olympian Club. Taryn is Ireland’s greatest Adventure Racer and this 1 hour 9 minutes 47 seconds was merely a quick sprint for Taryn who normally races for distances of up to 24 hours.

The men’s winner was Paul Carroll from Belfast. He was the only man under the hour and he set a new course record. His swim time for 30 lengths was 11 minutes 32. He had a transition of 40 seconds. His bike time was 30 minutes 29 seconds which is an average of 25 miles an hour on the hilly Ballyquin Road. He had a second transition time of 44 seconds and a phenomenal run time of 54 minutes 32 seconds for the 5K to finish sub 59 minutes.

Paul later said he was in good form. This has not been his first success this season and it won’t be his last.

Second on the podium was Peter Savage from the Newry Club in a time of 1 hour 2 minutes 27 Seconds and third was TTC Member Rhodri Jones in a great time of 1 hour 2 minutes 43 seconds. It’s great to see Rhodri back on the scene. Rhodri worked in Spain for 8 years and he is now the leading athlete for the Club.

Second in the female race was Maeve Maher-McWilliams from the North West Club just 15 seconds behind Taryn and third was Joanne Doran also of the North West Club in 1 hour 10 minutes 12 seconds.

Category winners for the Triangle included Ann Paul, the legend of Irish Endurance Sport in a time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 22 seconds. That was Ann’s fourth race of the week!

Pride of place for the day goes to two members who stopped to help a competitor who had had an accident on the bike course. The athlete lost control of his bike at speed, hit a kerb and rolled down a 10 foot bank on the Ballyquin Road. Alan McElhinney of TTC and Gavin Eakin stopped in the middle of their races and got off to check on the condition of their injured colleague. That’s what the true spirit of triathlon is about. Well done to those two.

The other Triangle athletes who took part were Adam Wilson, who was well placed in his age category – 8th overall in a time of 1 hour four minutes 16 seconds, Peter Hughes 1:05:03 (13th), Dermot Archie McElhinney 1:06:59 (20th overall), Alistair Bratten, winner of his category in 1:08:53 (28th overall), Thomas Moore 1:09:42 (30th overall), Roger Poland 1:10:37 (41st overall), Brian Lockington 1:10:40 (42nd overall), Chris Surgener, aged 15 in a great time of 1:12:40, this young man is one to watch over the next few years (50th overall and 1st in his age group, i.e. sub 16!)Gavin O’Kane (who supply lots of spot prizes through Champion System Clothing) 1:12:47 for a new P.B (53rd overall), Alan McElhinney 1:13:59 despite getting off his bike to help, Carolyne Doherty, 2nd in her age group in a time of 1:15:54 (this was Carolyne’s first race since her podium place on Ironman South Africa only 3 weeks previously – 79th overall), Stephen Breydin 1:16:41 (85th overall), Darren Divine, Limavady Swim Club Coach, 1:17:13 (90th overall), Stephen Graham in a great time of 1:18:35 (102nd overall), Mark Shannon 1:19:13 (111th overall), Catherine Woods 1:19:37 (85th overall), Heather McLaughlin 1:22 (132nd overall) and a new P.B, Ruth Ruddell of the TTC who couldn’t take the smile off her face all day in a time of 1:31:36.

There was a stellar performance in 12th place from Glenn Willis from the Peninsula Club, aged only 17 Glenn swam 30 lengths in 10 minutes 20 seconds, rode quicker than 20mph for the bike ride and had the third quickest run split of the day in 16 minutes 38 seconds for an overall time of 1:04:56. This young man is one to watch.

We had 191 finishers including Malachy Ryan aged 63. Malachy suffered bad cramp after the bike ride but was determined to finish. The oldest competitor of the day was Denis Rankin proudly wearing number 1, aged 66. Well done to him – well done to everybody.

The organisers wish to thank many people who made this race possible including the PSNI for their superb professionalism in marshalling every junction, Michelle Loughery and Limavady Volunteers for looking after registration, Caroline Taylor and the Millennium Volunteers, Kerry Boyd, Sammie Giles, Andrew Goldie, Connor Hassan and Angela Scrivens, Limavady Swim Club and Bill Ely and Simon Walton and Heather McLaughlin for looking after the lane counting, Roe Valley Cycling Club, particularly Mary Boyd for the turnaround on the bike course, Springwell Running Club with Kenny Bacon and Bill Deehan and Cathal McFeely and Althea Clarkson for looking after the run course, Scotty for providing the food, the Roe Valley Leisure Centre and staff for their dedication and enthusiasm all day, Joanne Donaghy for physiotherapy and massage, Triathlon Ireland officials including Graham Parker, Karl Vekins, Paddy McLaughlin and Stewart Tosh, Glenn Grant of Championship Timing System, Colin Loughery, Brendan O’Brien, Johnny Wilson, Graham Montgomery, Ashley Moore, Mervyn Kelly, Ian O’Kane, Sharon Jack and Mark Jack and particularly Stephen Morrison, who despite a broken shoulder and other injuries, was there all day to help on Saturday. It’s helpful people like that that really do make the world go round and make it such a memorable day for all concerned.

Pain is just a conversation... well there were a lot of conversations being had on Saturday and they were all positive about Limavady and about the Roe Valley Sprint Race.

Thanks are also due to the Red Cross who were needed on one occasion and who provided reassurance and an element of safety to the whole event. Thanks are also due to the Triathlon Ireland backroom staff in Wicklow for the logistics.

Next race on the Triathlon Calendar is the Liam Ball this Sunday at Templemore Sports Complex – see you there!