Kilkee Hell of the West Triathlon kicked today in glorious sunshine. The town of Kilkee was groomed and welcomed the athletes with open arms – flags, banners & balloons adorning every lamppost and gateway.
Revived from the destruction of the winter storms, the bandstand stood proud, restored and ready for the masses arriving to race the 30th Kilkee Hell of the West Triathlon.
Over 1000 athletes took to the blue flag beach in a relatively calm horse shoe bay at 9:30 am to kick off in Three Waves.
This year being the 30th anniversary of the race and this year’s National Championship – the very best athletes in the country flocked from far and wide. The race was organised by the Limerick Triathlon Club with a lot of help from the Clare County Council and the Local community.
The ultimate passion and goal was to make the 30th year a sheer celebration of triathlon; spanning all abilities and crossing the generations. “It is important to us that the race be attractive for all, suitably competitive for those wishing to have a crack at the National Championship but suitably relaxed enough for those taking part for the first time” Says Race Director Mark Kennedy of Limerick Triathlon Club.
So as the swimmers left the water to head out on the bike the children’s event got going on the beach. The Splash and Dash, well known to all at this stage for the fabulous free t-shirt, sees kids and grandkids of athletes dash and splash their way to a medal and a goodie bag. This year the kid’s race was endorsed by Gavin Noble, course record holder and Olympian.
But it was not all about the children today, the race was won by a Limerick man Aaron O’Brien 2hrs 3mins. This is Aaron’s first time racing Kilkee because until now he was underage. In fact Aaron was once a splash and Dash contestant. So we have high hopes for the 200 kids dashing today, much talent on its way through.
Charles Maltha Base2Race was in second having enjoyed the race, followed closely by Mark Horan Pulse, and Aidan Callaghan in 4th. Fifth over the line and racing competitively now for 25 years, was Trevor woods.
First over the line for the women was Carolyn Hayes GoTri 2hrs 17mins, followed closely by Cork’s Katie Cooke. Joyce Wolfe was third, last year’s winner Anna Crooks was in forth, while Derval Devaney Belpark was in fifth .
The race today was a testament to triathlon, running solely on volunteerism, and almost 300 hardy helpful souls at that. Asked for a comment Race PRO Ciara says “Today we celebrated life, sport, friendship and our families! There is very little that can better that”
We would like to thank our sponsors CastleCabin, Fitzgerald Flowers, Blulift, Shannon Airport, Cycle Superstore, to Clare county council, Triathlon Ireland and all the other sponsors supporters and helpers!
Provisional results are here