The horse shoe bay of Kilkee, Co. Clare was choppy and windy, but that did not put off over 900 athletes all taking on the challenge of Kilkee Hell of the West 2013. This being the 29th year of this race for the Limerick Triathlon Club – they pulled out all the stops. There were over 180 volunteers helping out and a whopping 185 kiddies in the annual Splash & Dash on the beach. This year there were over 60 clubs represented many from overseas.
The organisers were chuffed with the calibre of athletes the race attracted this year. The field was stacked with the top male and female triathletes in the country all in attendance meaning a top 10 or even a top 20 finish was going to be difficult.
Olympian Gavin Noble was on the comeback trail after a knee injury but wasn’t phased by the sea conditions, completing the 1500m open water swim in an amazing time of 16:59. Kevin Thornton, just back from winning the European Age Group Championships emerged from the seas in 2nd and 1min 03secs adrift. Limerick Masters Swimmer and Limerick Triathlete Deirdre Kearney had an equally impressive swim for the ladies as she exited the water in 23:39.
The Cycle terrain is tough but adding that wind proved it to be a serious test to all. In the men’s race Noble continued to push the pace gaining a sizable lead on Thornton. Nenagh TC’s Shane Scully put in an impressive bike split to move right up through the field and into 3rd.
Leading the women’s field – Cork’s Katie Cooke also used a strong bike leg but a foot injury meant Katie took pulled out after the cycle, leaving Irish IM record holder Joyce Wolfe as the new race leader.
But not for long – Anna Crooks who started the run in 4th set out at an amazing pace overtaking all ahead of her to take the lead. Anna was first over the line in a fabulous time of 2:25:44. Joyce Wolfe came in 2nd followed by, Jen Duffy in 3rd.
In the men’s race there would be no stopping Gavin Noble as he smashed the old course record by 7min 54secs to set a new best of 1:59:46. Kevin Thornton ran well to claim 2nd, also within the previous record some 5:19 down on Noble. 3rd place went to Mark.
Ennis Triathlete Alison Reidy – who was attempting to complete 10 triathlons in 10 days for the Hope Foundation – ran over the line smiling with the success of this very tough challenge.
Barry Murphy & Rachel Clancy were first Limerick Man and Woman over the line.
As the competitors made their way across the finish line in front of large crowds the sun began to shine and competitors and spectators enjoyed the post-race party atmosphere. Food and Live music from Robbie Hinchey livened up the celebrations in the Kilkee Bay Hotel.
The Limerick Triathlon Club would like to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, supporters & athletes. “Another great Kilkee Hell of the West”
Photos, Feedback & Results from the Race are available on Facebook
Photos are also available from Gordon & Sean (TI Media Photographers)
Sean’s Photos – http://www.flickr.com/photos/seaniepower/sets/72157634404228921/
Gordon’s Photos – http://www.flickr.com/photos/gordon_thomson/sets/72157634412443010/
Results are available From Sports Timing