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Sat 23rd Nov 2019
Portaferry Triathlon report
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 23rd September 2010

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Derek Patterson reports from Ireland on last weekend's Portaferry Triathlon, one of the long-standing classic events.

Crazy wet weather weather arrived just after the swim start at Portaferry, the driest, sunniest part of N.Ireland.

With an imposed swim restriction of 140 it meant 50 late entries missed the boat. The swim is across the largest, deepest sea lough in Britain and Ireland it would be interesting to see how many would start. So, 124 neoprene clad warriors travelled on the ferry to do battle with the course and weather to the race start in Strangford. Most managed to avoid the currents and whirlpools to arrive at Portaferry Pier, the towns answer to the Pier at Kona, Hawaii though it had 1700 bikes less and was at least 17c cooler.

With Goretex replacing sun screen and umbrellas out-numbering sun visors, this was never going to be an easy day. Real triathlon at its toughest; no soft city-centre bike courses and no drafting.

All athletes completed the 900metre swim to the north side of Portaferry Pier. Former 1500 metre swimmer and Irish elite athlete Alistair Duffield who made the top-20 in 1990 as a 17 year old, swam arm-to-arm with Neill Ferguson who pulled away by two minutes during the tough 43 km cycle. Alistair, now recovered after his 3.08 run at Ironman UK and his 2.42 for 20th place at the Belfast Marathon, caught and passed Neil on the 10km 2-lap coast road run to win in 2.01.40. Donal Mahon from Galway closed within a minute of Neil for third with ever improving Donal Sheehy a close fourth. Edwin MCullagh passed East Antrims Wayne Morrow for fifth and Bryce Irvine was first Vet and seventh overall, also under 2.11.  Matthew Allum, Olympian in his first season made the top-10 seniors with Ian Brankin and Greg Foster..

Tony Mcnulty, Olympian was second vet from Paul McManus, Colm Hanratty and John Young, Scotland. 

Former Commonwealth athlete Charles Russel was first over 50 home in 2.18.

Original organiser Desi McHenry swam 16.17, biked 1.16 and then stopped to help keep the show on the rails.

Former Strangford resident Trudy Brown, the only Irish athlete to represent Ireland at elite short and long course triathlon and elite cycling passed former Commonwealth Games triathlete Julie Murphy, Hi Elbow, early on the bike for her 44th career win and went on the finish 14th overall. Top vet was Kay Hack, Triangle who raced the 1990 version and was third overall from Teresa Mulroe, Cheryl Caldwell, Triangle and Kate McNeill, Decathlon.

Adam Speer 24-7 Tri Club Letterkenny, dominated the shorter race option with a 2-lap cycle and one lap run to win from Edward Hanna and Owen Jefferies  with Jim Connolly winning the vets from Hamilton Coulter and James Taylor both Peninsula.

Rachel Hughes, lead home the girls from former international hockey star Julie Stewart and local lass Maeve Cahill, Olympian.

John Duncan's team had a race long battle with Robert Wilson's team for first with former leading athlete John McLaughlin managing his team to third. His wife Grace who lead the females out of the water in the '90s race as a teenager did the swim, with top cyclist, Liam Curran recording the fastest bike.

Local girls team of Lauren Quinn, Melissa Cleary and Loiuse Gilmore won the shorter course relay.

Many thanks for multiple Irish triathlon champion Eugene Galbraith for keeping the spirits up as race commentator and all the helpers on such a day.



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