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Sunday 25 September 2016

In pics: More than 2,500 athletes take part in gruelling Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Dublin

Claire Gorman

Published 09/08/2015 | 02:30

Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors heading out on the bike in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors heading out on the bike in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors heading out on the bike in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
People cheering on the competitors in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
STRONGWOMAN: Maire Fox signed up for an Ironman competition after adding it to her bucket list. Photo: Gerry Mooney

It's one of the world's toughest endurance challenges - a 2.4-mile swim and a 112-mile cycle, topped off with a full 26.2-mile marathon.

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The full Ironman was built to challenge the fittest, strongest men in the world - but now Irish girls are beating the boys at their own game.

Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
People cheering on the competitors in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
People cheering on the competitors in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
People cheering on the competitors in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips

More than 2,500 athletes swam, cycled and ran through Dublin, Kildare and Meath as part of the Ironman 70.3 triathlon. Ireland doesn't have its own full Ironman event yet.

The event included a 1.9km swim in Scotsman's Bay in Dun Laoghaire followed by a 90km cycle and a 21km half marathon. Astonishingly this huge test of endurance is considered a mid-distance Ironman.

But some determined Irish women are now travelling abroad to compete in full Ironman events, while others will be taking on the half Ironman distance today in Dublin for the first time.

Maire Fox, from Ballylanders, Co Limerick, travelled to Austria in June with her boyfriend, Kevin Gilleece, to compete in an Ironman.

The laboratory manager, who trains with 3D Triathlon Club in Dublin, signed up because it was on her bucket list.

Maire (34) spent six months training, completing 15 hours of sessions a week at the peak of her preparations.

Some of the competitors heading out on the bike in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors heading out on the bike in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors heading out on the bike in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors getting out of the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Some of the competitors heading out on the bike in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
The start of competitors in the water in Dublin's first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, with 2,500 athletes taking part. The course involves a 1.9km swim at Scotsman’s Bay in D?n Laoghaire, followed by a 90km cycle which goes through Dublin city before looping back to Phoenix Park where the race will conclude with a 21km half marathon. 9/8/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips

"I have a turbo trainer, a stationary bike, and because I rent a room in a house I'd to set up the turbo trainer in the garden shed.

"I was going out there on a cold winter's morning, setting up my turbo, and I'd turn on the tumble dryer just to get some heat for the first while until I warmed up. That was just so tough mentally getting up to do that. It was depressing to be honest."

Maire, who lives in Dublin, lost all drive to train when her father was diagnosed with cancer during her training.

"With two months to go, we got the news about Dad so all of a sudden I'd lost all motivation. That's when Kevin [my boyfriend] and Julie [my sister] were there to keep me focused. I knew Dad wouldn't like me to give up either."

But Maire, who has been competing in triathlons for the past eight years, said the sacrifices she made were worth it once she crossed the finish line after 11 hours and 56 minutes.

"I think I was at about 40k in the run when I saw Kevin and he gave me the Irish flag, and as soon as he did that, that's when the tears started to flow," she recalled.

Aine Donegan, from Garristown, Dublin, will take on the Ironman 70.3 Dublin today along with 2,600 competitors, one fifth (19pc) of whom are women.

Personal trainer Aine,(27) who recently left her permanent job as a nurse to pursue her new career, was inspired to take on Ironman 70.3 Dublin after seeing professional athletes competing.

"I started triathlons three years ago and I just really love them. I love the atmosphere and I really, really enjoy the training," said Aine, whose preparation was interrupted by a broken collarbone sustained when she fell off her bike.

Sunday Independent

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