ORGANISERS of the first TriGrandPrix Tralee Triathlon, which attracted some 300 triathletes to the county capital at the weekend have hailed the event as a great success.
The first major event of the two week Kerry Activity Experience, a two week celebration of sport underway in venues across Kerry, the triathlon, which was based in and around Tralee's historic canal, attracted competitors from Mayo, Roscommon, Wicklow, Wexford, Dublin, Cork as well as a number of overseas athletes.
Tralee-based company, TriGrandPrix, operated by local businessman Jim Breen, were the main movers behind the event which was supported by Tralee Chamber Alliance and Tralee Town Council with the assistance of the emergency services and a huge team of local volunteers who helped manage and marshal the triathlon.
The canal was the focal point of the action at Saturday's event which saw competitors first swim the canal, then take to their bikes on a route which brought them through The Spa and Ardfert before running back to the finishing line at the canal basin.
There were be a series of events on the day to suit everyone from first timers to the more experienced athletes. In all 10 separate competitions were held including different distances to suit all abilities and a number of relay events.
Kerry Activity Experience organiser Liam Lynch said that Triathlon had been a great success and the aim in the coming years is to gradually increase the number of participants to about 1,000 bringing the event in line with larger triathlons like the upcoming TriGrandPrix event in Kilkenny.
"This was a wonderful event and a testament to all the hard work put in by many organisations," he said.
"For the people of Tralee it was a nostalgic sight to see swimmers back in the canal. This tradition goes back to the 60's and was a important part of the first Rose of Tralee festival," he said.
"The Tralee Town Council deserve great credit for getting the water in the canal to the quality it was at and hopefully the Basin will now become a bigger amenity for the town," said Liam Lynch.
Mr Lynch also paid tribute to the number of volunteers who gave up their time to help out and to the level and professionalism they displayed.
"They gave their time free to marshal the event and without them it could not have taken place. Once again the people of Tralee answered the call to get involved in and we were delighted with the numbers who volunteered" said Liam Lynch.