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Monday 16 September 2019

'I need to go and find me a Guinness' – athletes take to Dún Laoghaire for the annual 70.3 Ironman triathlon

Gabija Gataveckaite

Thousands of athletes took to Dún Laoghaire on Sunday morning to complete in the annual 70.3 Ironman race.

Streets of the coastal town filled with revellers and supporters as professional and amateur athletes took part in the challenging triathlon, which involves a swim, bike ride and a run.

The 70.3 Ironman challenge is half of the full Ironman triathlon, with the 70.3 figure referring to the total distance, in miles, or 113km, covered in the race.

Athletes took to Dún Laoghaire for the annual triathlon, which consists of a 1.9km swim in Scotsman’s Bay, then hopped on their bikes for a 90km cycle through the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. The triathlon ends with a 21km run through the villages of Dún Laoghaire, Monkstown and Seapoint.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Longford man David Sheridan - who placed sixth overall as an amateur - said it takes around six months to prepare for the event.

"It was a very tough course because the fog came in very late on to the swim and you couldn't see the buoys on the water," he said.

"On the Dublin mountains, it was the same and you really had to take precaution around the descends and the corners."

"On the Sally Gap and down to Viewmount, it was crazy, really couldn't see five metres ahead of you so you really had to sit up and take your time," he added.

While he is not a professional athlete, Mr Sheridan is a seasoned Ironman competitor, having completed nine full Ironmans and 15 half IronMans.

"It was an absolutely fantastic race and I'm happy to be on the podium on my age group and to be first Irish amateur," he added.

He said that in celebration, he'll spend some quality time with his family.

"I'm going to probably go and have dinner with the missus and the kids and have a few beers and have a few beers," he said.

Laura Siddall, who's from the UK, placed fifth.

"I got here Thursday and it's been absolutely amazing. The locals, down swimming and in all the shops have been so welcoming and friendly and they just want to chat," she said.

Having suffered an injury a short while ago, this was her first race since recovery.

"I broke my collarbone about 12 weeks ago so this was my first race back, so it was a little bit of a shock to the system, especially with this course, but that's why we do it and want to push ourselves and we want to see where we're at.

"The bike [ride] was just stunning, the fact that you've got the ocean here and a few minutes you're into the hills, it's just breathtaking."

She joked that to celebrate, she'll be on the lookout for a Guinness.

"I've got to find a Guinness," she laughed.

Completing his first half Ironman triathlon was Peter Kennaugh, a World Tour professional cyclist from the Isle of Man.

"I haven't trained really, so I'm very sore and I just didn't have the endurance in the run in the last 4k," he said.

"I was working through all of July in the Tour de France so didn't have much time to train.

"The toughest part was the run, it just went on forever.

"But I'm quite happy really with how it went," he added.

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