What a fantastic weekend we had in Co. Clare with the 31st Hell of the West Olympic distance on Saturday and the Kids of the West on Sunday. All organised by Limerick Triathlon Club with the help of our friends. Saturday’s weather was typical for Kilkee – blustery but very warm, posing challenges on the bike for the less experiences cyclists but also meaning all Athletes needed to re-hydrate in the hidden heat.
With 6 swim starts the swim was busy, awash with multi coloured hats and Kayakers there to keep us all safe and away from the Rocks, and they did a fantastic job.
Cork professional, Bryan Keane laid on a demonstration in the men’s race as he crossed the line in a time of 1:59:42. Keane took a new course record from Gavin Noble last year. “It was a really tough race, the headwind on the bike and the out and back run makes it a good honest test and good preparation for the European Championships…I don’t get to race at home very often so I really enjoyed it here in Kilkee.” Commented race winner, Keane. We really loved having Bryan racing with us also. Over 1200 triathletes battled through a choppy 1500 meter swim, to then take on the windy 44 kilometre bike on hilly the roads of Clare. The Run took the athletes up a steep incline of showing some beautiful views of Loop Head and the stunning cliffs of Kilkee.
Triathlon Ireland Development Squad athlete Aichlinn O’Reilly emerged from the water in 3rd place on the toes of Harry Speers but posted a fantastic bike and run split to finish 2nd in a time of 2:06:35. Rory Sexton claimed the final podium place in a time of 2:09:04.
In the ladies race, Carolyn Hayes defended her Hell of the West title in style as she led from start to finish. Crossing the line in 2:15:57 Carolyn also shaved time off her own course record. Well done Carolyn. “I’ve had some broken training as I’ve been focusing on exams so I was delighted with the result today.”
Eimear Fitzmaurice made up a deficit out of the water thanks to a strong bike and run leg, coming home in 2nd place in a time of 2:23:02. Rachel Hawker from Kenmare TC used a strong run to move from 4th up to 3rd during the 10 kilometre run, finishing in a time of 2:30:03.
We were joined in Kilkee by 48 clubs from around Ireland, but also had athletes racing from 6 different countries. We are proud to be a club event, and to attract so many different clubs and want to thank you all for travelling.
From our own club First Limerick woman and First Limerick man home were Rachel Clancy & Mark Higgins. Winning the Joey Memorial Cups -sponsored by Kenneally Jewellers.
Notable performances were put in by Mark’s sister Lisa Lorgan who had a fab race, winning her category and coming in 6th overall. And what a performance from Aoibhe Reidy…. Dave Beary also had a great race with a 2:21:08 finish.
We were also delighted to see such impressive racing and improved swimming skills from our Monday night swimmers. Diarmuid Lane, Nick O’Dwyer and John O’Sullivan, are ones to watch. While Tadhg O’Malley knocked over 3 minutes of his swim time. Well done also to the Monday girls, Clo Moore, Angela Robertson and Ann Mackey Madigan on their first ever Kilkee.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank; all of the Hell of the West organising committee and event volunteers without whom no race would happen. Triathlon Ireland and in particular the assigned race officials. A very big “Thank You!” to sponsors CastleCabin, Shannon Airport, Fitzgerald Flowers, 4FM and Cycle Superstore. Supporters, The Pantry, Diamond Rocks Café, Nevsail, Kilkee Bay Hotel, Myles Creek Bar, Williams Pharmacy, Stella Maris, our Physical Therapists and the Irish Coastguard Services.
We would also wish to extend our gratitude also for all the support we have received from Clare County Council, Garda Siochána, Irish Red Cross, Clare Sports Partnership, and the Kilkee Chamber of Commerce and for rowing in behind this year’s event. Thanks also to the Medical Officer on the day Gillian Daley – we could not have done it without you Gillian.
We would like to say Thanks Triathlon Ireland for this ongoing support, great to see Chris Kitchen heling in the water, well impressed Chris. Also thanks to Lochlann Walsh, who raced and then spoke at the prize giving. Thanks to Scott in TI media with his camera crew and thanks to Gordon Thomson and his photographers from TI Media also.
“Thanks to all for their assistance in delivering another successful HOTW. It was a pleasure to work with so many club members, volunteers and organisation in delivering another successful HOTW. I found that over the last six months that no request was too big, no hurdle too high and no shortage of helpful advise and direction from members. It just again highlights why LTC continues to be one of the best triathlon clubs in Ireland by continuing to deliver premier standard club events. Roll on 2016! ” Niall Maloney race director
So if you are all up for a Challenge? See you in Kilkee next year, same date same time.