The Mixed Relay National Championships 2016
Sunday, 17 July 2016 | Admin
The Mixed Relay National Championships 2016 : Derval Devaney
The Mixed Relay National Championships took place last weekend on the grounds of Belvedere House and Gardens near Mullingar. Twenty-four teams of four athletes per team raced with each athlete completing a super-sprint distance triathlon consisting of a 200m swim, a 5km bike and a 1.5km run before tagging the next teammate in a special tag zone close to transition.
I was on one of 4 Belpark teams with Ellen Murphy, Brendan Crawford and Art MacManusa making up our team of 4.
The bike course proved challenging with the heavy rain, but despite the poor conditions, Ellen made up time with the fastest female bike split of the day placing us in 6th position with 24/7 taking the lead and Cork Tri 6 seconds behind and Limerick Tri in 3rd place. Once Ellen finished her run she tagged Brendan and off he ran to the lake shore to start his swim. Brendan was up against the newly crowned Standard Distance National Champion Chris Mintern of Cork Tri Club who managed to open the gap during his leg and give his club a 2 minute lead in the race by the time he tagged his teammate, Katie Cooke. Meanwhile Brendan pushed on and managed to position Belpark right up to 2nd place with a 45 second advantage over the the chasing pack. This was after serving a 15 second penalty for going the wrong way coming out of T2!
The rain had eased by the time Brendan tagged me but as I ran to the lake’s edge I could see in the space of less than an hour the lake conditions had changed and there was a swell in the water. I practically had the swim course to myself as Katie Cooke had rounded the last buoy at this stage. It was choppy swimming out to the first buoy 100m away and as I rounded the 2nd buoy 50m on, Carolyn Hayes and another two females overtook me, giving me feet to draft off while making my way back to shore. There was a long run up to T1 so by the time I had arrived I had my wetsuit stripped to my waist. We each had boxes to put our gear (wetsuit, bike Helmet, etc.) into in Transition (or a penalty would ensue).
I was behind Carolyn Hayes and a few other athletes exiting T1 and overtook them on the bike along the road out of Belvedere House. I had toeclip pedals which enabled me to wear my runners on the bike leg for faster transitions and this seemed to work well for me. At the turnaround point on the bike there was a stiff headwind on the way back and I made a big effort to widen the gap between me and the other female athletes out on the course. Carolyn stayed with me however and just as we approached the entrance to Belvedere House she overtook me. I took advantage of this draft legal race and stayed close behind her and we came into T2 together. We never did catch Katie Cooke so it was Cork Tri in 1st position, Limerick Tri 2nd and Belpark 3rd out on the run. I stayed with Carolyn on the 1.5 km trail run through forest and tagged our last team member Art, leaving him 12 seconds behind Limerick Tri’s 2nd position.
At this stage Cork Tri Club were just a minute ahead and looked to have the trophy bagged but Aaron O’Brien of Limerick Tri took back almost a minute during the 200m swim and eventually caught Mark Nolan of Cork Tri on the bike. Both men ran into T2 together making the race very exciting. The 1.5 km run would be the deciding factor on which Club would win the National Championship .
In the end Cork Tri club crossed the finishline in 1st place with a 22 second lead on Limerick Tri Club in a time of 1 hour 33 minutes and 33 seconds. Art held Belparks 3rd position and crossed the line in a time of 1 hour 35 minutes and 20 seconds. The 3 clubs got to take podium positions for medal presentation & celebration.
It was a fantastic event, great fun and atmosphere in a beautiful location, The support from the mix of clubs and supporters while out racing was great and the whole event ran smoothly thanks to TI’s organisation and the help of the Garda and marshalls. Hopefully next year more clubs will take part in the fun!
Thanks to Gordan Thompson and Stephen Kellegan for the photographs and capturing the event so well.