Cork Triathlon Club - Mixed Relay Champions

Mixed Relay Champs 2016 8

Cork Triathlon Club have won the first draft-legal Mixed Relay Championships, which were staged at Belvedere House and Gardens near Mullingar.

The Cork team of Amy Wolfe, Chris Mintern, Katie Cooke and Mark Nolan finished just 22secs ahead of the second placed team Limerick Triathlon Club, which was made up of Kirsten Huysamen, Diarmuid Lane, Carolyn Hayes and Aaron O'Brien.

Belpark Triathlon Club's team of Ellen Murphy, Brendan Crawford, Derval Devaney and Art McManusa finished in third place.

The Race

Twenty four teams of four athletes per team started the race with each athlete completing a super-sprint distance triathlon before handing over the their next team mate in a special tag zone close to transition. Conditions on the day were challenging with gusty winds, an at-times choppy lake and some heavy downpours of rain hitting the course.

The race began with a deep water start for the female competitors. Within four minutes of the gun it was clear Cork Tri would be a factor in the proceedings, with Amy Wolfe emerging alone from the water with a 9sec lead over a chasing pack that included Kirsten Huysamen of Limerick Triathlon Club, Siobhan Gallagher from Letterkenny's 247 Tri Club and Deirdre Fagan from 3D (who would go on the following day to win the sprint distance race at the B2R Harbourman Triathlon in Wicklow).

Out on the 5km bike route, Gallagher took control and brought her team in to T2 in first place, with a six second lead over Cork TC.  Limerick Triathlon Club's two teams were next in to T2, a further 10secs back.

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Mintern Pulls Ahead

Just 11 seconds separated first from sixth as the first women tagged the first men to head out on the 250m swim. It was here that Cork really began to press on, with newly crowned Standard Distance Champion Chris Mintern pulling out a 40sec advantage by the time he hit T1, a lead that he converted to more than 2mins by the time he tagged team mate Katie Cooke after completing his bike and run legs.

Meanwhile Belpark Triathlon Club had moved up to second place with a 45sec advantage over the chasing pack by the time Brendan Crawford tagged his teammate Derval Devaney. After briefly falling back in the race, Limerick also made a strong showing - with their third athlete on the course - Carolyn Hayes overtaking several competitors on the swim to pair up with Devaney during the bike leg and the two women entered the tag zone following their run with just 12secs separating them.

Mixed Relay Champs Tag Zone

Down to the Wire

At this stage Cork Tri were a full minute ahead and looked to have the victory sealed but Limerick's Aaron O'Brien showed he has not lost any of his swim prowess -  despite focusing his attentions on bike racing in recent years. He took back almost a minute during the swim on Cork Tri's Mark Nolan and eventually caught Nolan on the bike.

Both men ran out of T2 together, meaning that after four athletes and more than 1hr 30mins of racing, the race would be decided on which man could cover the  1,500m cross country run quickest.

Mixed Relay Champs Nolan O'Brien Run

Nolan Seals Victory

According to Mark Nolan, O'Brien was the first the kick, but the Cork Tri Club athlete responded and his counter attack saw him pull away and carve out a commanding lead over so short a distance. In the end, Nolan crossed the line 22 secs ahead of Aaron O'Brien, whose Limerick team finished in 2nd place with a time of 1hr 33mins and 31secs.

Belpark were next to finish, crossing the line with a time of 1hr 35mins and 20secs.

Mixed Relay Champs Celebration

Winners Trophy

Winners medals were presented on the day and Cork Triathlon Club will be the first team to get their names on a new perpetual trophy at this year's Triathlon Ireland annual awards ceremony in the autumn.

Athlete feedback from the race has been extremely positive and Triathlon Ireland would like to thank all the volunteers who made the event possible, especially the team from Midland Triathlon Club. The support they gave was fantastic and the event couldn't have happened without them.

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Images and Results

Two galleries of images taken by Stephen Kelleghan and Gordon Thomson are available on the Triathlon Ireland facebook page, where you can also view videos taken during the race.

Provisional results are available here

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