Triathlon is to become an annual fixture on city’s sporting calendar

The first wave of swimmers get under way, at the Derry City Triathalon. '(DER-29-1507-GMI-11-TRIATHALON)
The first wave of swimmers get under way, at the Derry City Triathalon. '(DER-29-1507-GMI-11-TRIATHALON)

The City of Derry Triathlon is, like the Walled City Marathon, set to become an annual event, establishing a sporting legacy from Derry’s year as UK City of Culture.

Organisers were delighted by the response to the second staging of the triathlon in the city last Sunday with over 500 competitors taking part.

The event is set to become part of a national series of triathlons held both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland within two years.

Race organiser Paul McGilloway of the North West Triathlon Club ,said he is convinced the triathlon will now become an annual event.

“There is clearly a huge appetite out there, both for people taking part and people coming out to support the athletes,” he said.

“When we started this someone told me we needed to be careful because we were in danger of creating a monster.

“Our memberships has gone up from 120 to 250 in two years - but it’s a good monster.

“I think the Peace Bridge was the final piece of the jigsaw we needed to get people out there.

“In the past you might have been in danger of being knocked down by a car - now you’re in more danger of being run over by a runner or a cyclist, there are that many of them out there.

“The city centre has become a hub for training with the pathways along the river and through St Columb’s Park and people are getting out there and using them.

“It’s something which is for the benefit of the whole city.”

Sunday’s triathlon comprised a 750-metre swim in the River Foyle, a 20k cycles around the Craigavon and Foyle bridges and a 5k run.

Sponsors Firmus has confirmed it will back the event again next year.