IT SLIGO students raised in excess of €750 in aid of the National Suicide Research Foundation at an innovative 'Try a Tri' event held in the Clarion Hotel.
Triathlons have experienced double digit growth in Ireland since 2007, with more than 140 events now taking place across the country each year. However, while 20,000 Irish people took part in Triathlons last year, the average age of participants is between 30 and 34.
Students studying the Bachelor of Business in Recreation and Leisure organised the Try a Tri event in order to promote the sport amongst third level students and to raise money for the National Suicide Research Foundation.
Teams were required to complete a 400m swim, a 10k bike ride and a 4k run, while individual entries completed a 200m swim, an 8k bike ride and a 3k run. The individual winner was Tomás Madden from Mayo, with a time of 36.17 while the IT Sligo team, which featured Kerry Larkin, Brian McMorrow and Bernadette Gilroy, came first in the team category with a time of 42.64.
Lecturer Paula Roddy says this is the first event of its kind at the Institute but there are plans to make it an annual event.
"Participation in triathlons has exploded in Ireland in the last few years and organising an event like this gives the students a real taste of what's involved in the management of a multi-team event," she said. "We also hope that it will encourage more students to get involved in the sport.
"While we have a very strong sporting tradition at IT Sligo, we find that most students tend to focus on their chosen sport or activity and we hope that by 'Trying a Tri' they'll be encouraged to diversify their training and enjoy what is a very sociable and competitive sport."
The NSRF conducts research in the area of suicide prevention and is recognised by the Department of Health and Children and the World Health Organisation as the leading research unit in the field in Ireland. Irene O'Farrell, Research Officer at the NSRF acknowledged the efforts of the students
"The National Suicide Research Foundation is delighted to be involved with this initiative by the Bachelor of Business in Recreation and Leisure students at IT Sligo.
We thank them for choosing the National Suicide Research Foundation to be the beneficiary of the Try a Tri," he said.
The Clarion Hotel was the main sponsor of the event and provided the event, prizes and sponsorship.
Other sponsors included Seventh Wave surf School, Enniscrone, Voya Seaweed baths Strandhill, E.J's menswear Sligo, Jack and Jones, Eason's, Sligo, Wheats Catering, the Knocknarea Arena, IT Sligo Students' Union and Cactus and Ruby wear. RESULTS: Individual: I, Thomas Madden 36.17; 2, Paul Little 37.39, 3, Paul Logan 38.37. Female athlete, Lani Gregory 46.94. Teams: 1, It Sligo Staff team, Kerry Larkin (Swim), Brian McMorrow (bike), Bernadette Gilroy (run) 42.64; 2, 4th Year Recreation and Leisure, Thelma Keenan (swim), Brendan Butler (Bike), Denise Ward (run) 46.11; 3, Clarion Staff team 2, Mark Lewis (swim), Niall Walsh (run) 51.03.