It is the wind on the Wild Atlantic Way that poses the biggest challenge to athletes in this long running event, however with temperatures in Clare reaching a 40 year high this week, it was the heat which would be the biggest factor for athletes at the 34th running of Kilkee Hell of the West Triathlon.
This year’s event saw flat calm warm waters in Kilkee’s Horseshoe bay, a new 44km Bike route out West towards Loop Head, followed by the stunningly scenic run along the Dunlickly cliff road. Clare Co Council had been gritting the roads to help with the melting tar, sun screen and extra water stations were put in place. Although not a TI National Series race this year, the usual prize pot of over €6,000 was on offer to both the Top 5 finishers and the Age Group categories.
With a receding tide the first of three swim waves got the event underway, with the women making up the first wave. Joanne Flanagan (GoTri) led the swim, with Mary Corless (TriLakes TC) and Catherine Sands (Newry TC) 30 seconds back. Mary & Catherine made their way to the front putting in the fastest bike splits, with Aoibhe Reidy of Limerick moving into 3rdon the bike. The positions remained unchanged on the gruelling run. Mary Corless was the surprised but delighted winner on HoTW 18, having last raced here on 2003, she took a 10 year break from triathlon, it’s great to have her back.
In the men’s race Aaron O’Brien (Limerick TC) narrowly led the way out of the water, from Aichlinn O’Reilly (Westport TC/ TI HP) who’s 1:06:28 bike split put him in a dominant position going onto the run. Quick bike splits also saw Ronan Costelloe, Gerald Troy, Shane Scadding, Owen Cummins and Pádraig O’Sullivan move up the field. At the halfway turn, Aichlinn led from Aaron, with Ronan Costelloe (Limerick TC) in 3rd, but he was overtaken on the return by Colm Turner (Limerick TC) whose 34:30 10km run saw him cross the line to take 3rd.
Many athletes get their first taste of HoTW by being part of a relay team, and those prizes are also hotly contested. This year we had 34 teams battle it out with Team O’Brien of Next Level Coaching (Maeve Ryan, Derek Cullen & Kenny Rogers) covering the course in the fastest time. The 2nd placed team was Team Rory Sexton, with the White Walkers in 3rd.
Ditch Moore led the referees, and we were honoured to have him at this his last outing as a TI Official.
Thanks to the Communities in Kilkee, Carrigaholt, Cross, Kilbaha and Loop head who provided some great support and Music along the route. Keating’s Bar Kilbaha and the Kilbaha Gallery facilitated the disruption to their normal business, many thanks.
Safety is our priority, we are indebted to the Red Cross, the Coast Guard and An Garda Síochána
Thanks to Clare County Council, our event sponsors, Fly Shannon, Castlecabin, Fitzgerald Flowers, The Good Food Outlet, Sportstiming, The Pantry & Nevsail.
Congratulations to all or finishers – from the first timers to veterans of the race including our own Noel Guinane who has completed the event 33 times!
Full results can be seen here
A fantastic gallery of photos from Gordon Thomson can be seen here
Thanks to the members, family & friends of Limerick Triathlon Club. We look forward to the 35th edition in June next year.