Middle Distance Champions Kevin Thornton and Derval Devaney claimed the Irish Middle Distance title in Athlone on Sunday as the town hosted the Middle Distance National Championships.The Championships attracted a strong field including a number of talented international athletes. Kevin Thornton would remain locked in a battle with professional racer Fraser Cartmell of Scotland with just seconds separating them after the 1.9km swim and 90km bike. Onto the half marathon run and Thornton’s 1:18:56 was enough to pull clear for the victory in a time of 3:58:53.Cartmell ran a 1:20:10 half marathon to finish 2nd in 4:00:05 with Aidan Callaghan holding off the challenge from Great Britain’s Duncan Shea-Simonds to finish 3rd in a time of 4:11:16. 3rd place Irish male in the National Championships went Ruaidhri Geraghty.Thornton is set to race the Ironman Dublin 70.3 on August 9th and looks in good form 4 weeks out from the race.The women’s race saw Ali Rowatt from Edinburgh cross the line with a sizeable advantage in a time of 4:33:14 with Claire Shea-Simonds from Leicester in 2nd place. The leading Irish lady and National Champion was Derval Devaney who produced a 31:21 1.9km swim, 2:37:16, 90km bike and 1:37:30 21.1km run to finish in a time of 4:50:38.