Friday 20 July 2018

Punctured wheels and kicks in the head can't halt our Ironmen

Some of the competitors getting out of the water after swimming in Scotsman's Bay
Some of the competitors getting out of the water after swimming in Scotsman's Bay
The T3 triathlon club, sponsored by the Big Red Cloud, all set for the swim
Kevin Thornton

Sam Griffin

Galway native Kevin Thornton was left cursing his luck - and a punctured tyre - which dashed any hopes of Irish victory at the first ever Ironman triathlon event in Dublin.

Some 2,500 athletes braved the icy dawn waters of Scotsman's Bay in Dun Laoghaire, cycled 90km through the capital's city and suburban streets and finished with an agonising 20km run around the Phoenix Park in the epic endurance test.

The race, supported by Dublin City Council, is called the Ironman 70.3 and is just slightly shorter than a full-length triathlon.

Irish success rested on the shoulders of professional triathlete Kevin Thornton who was leading the race at the cycle stage near Dunboyne in Co Meath when his puncture misfortune struck.

"I was in the lead at that stage and it cost me about three minutes to change it and then you're chasing your tail and it has a knock-on effect on your run because you have to work harder," said Kevin after the race.

He added it was 'impossible' to say if the mishap had cost him the top prize.

In the end, he finished in third and seven minutes off French winner Denis Chebrot.

It wasn't plain sailing for musician Niall Breslin either, who was "delighted" with his finishing time of five hours and seven minutes.

Indeed he did well to make it at all after getting a little too close for comfort with some of the competitors during the swim section.

"I think it was a weird swim. I got so many kicks in the face I don't know if that is because they don't like me or if that is just the way the swim works," Bressie joked at the finish line.

He also paid tribute to the support of the hundreds of fans who lined the finishing straight in the Phoenix Park, among them his model girlfriend Roz Purcell, to cheer on the athletes from Ireland the UK, and further afield.

"I don think people understand what that support does. I know it sounds cheesy but it actually does (help) because when you're out on the course you can get a bit lonely for so long, and then every now and again you come back around you get that little burst of energy from seeing everybody and your family", he said.

The first woman home was Susie Cheetham, from the UK in four hours and 27 minutes.

Irish Independent

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