Duathlon National Championships - Women's Preview

As with the men's race at this year's Duathlon National Championships, the introduction of draft-legal racing for the first time will make the women's race more exciting and especially more unpredictable.

Despite a perfect surface, the high number of turns on the Mondello race circuit will favour those with the best bike handling skills. And with a smaller field than the men's race, the potential exists for one or two strong athletes to break away early and build up a commanding lead coming in to T2.

Here are some of the faces to look out for in the race.

Heather Foley

Heather Foley

With two victories to her name at races one and two of the Naas Duathlon Series already this season, joint leader of the 2016 Duathlon National Series - Heather Foley stands out as an athlete to watch on Saturday.

She finished 6th overall in the 2015 Triathlon Ireland Super Series but that result didn't clearly reflect her form as she only completed three out of the four races required to score maximum points.Despite this, she won in Lough Neagh, came 2nd in the National Sprint Distance championships at Clogherhead and also finished 2nd at the Sligo Super Series race.

Most notably however, Foley won the Duathlon National Series in 2015 and is the reigning National Duathlon Champion. Add to that her background as an international cyclist and it will take a lot to beat her on Saturday.

Caroline Hayes DCT 2015

Carolyn Hayes

TI High Performance Development athlete Carolyn Hayes dominated the women's race scene more than any other athlete in 2015. Hayes did the treble, winning the Aquathon, Sprint and Standard Distance Championships in 2015 and went through the season unbeaten in the Super Series.

The only prize medal that eluded the 2015 Athlete of the Year was the gold medal in the Duathlon Championships where she finished second to Heather Foley. Her entry in to this year's race sets up the exciting prospect of having both women go head to head in the draft-legal format.

Lorraine Carey Connemara 2015

Lorraine Carey

Lorraine Carey from Co. Mayo's Liquid Motion Tri Club shares first place in the 2016 Duathlon National Series with Heather Foley. Both women have won all their races and scored a maximum 1400 points so far but with 1000 on offer for Saturday's race, the National Championships will be the ultimate decider for the women's title. Lorraine Carey finished 2nd overall in the 2015 Duathlon National  Series.

 

Caoimhe Ni Mhurchu Sligo 2015

Caoimhe Ni Mhurchu

Like Heather Foley, Caoimhe Ni Mhurchu's 7th place finish in last year's Super Series only tells part of the story since she only completed in three Super Series races and thus missed out on the chance to score points from the maximum four events. She finished 3rd at Sligo Super Series race, 4th at Dublin City Triathlon and came 6th at the National Sprint Distance Championships.

Saturday's duathlon championships will be Ni Muhurchu's first major duathlon outing in a while so her form is harder to ascertain. If she brings her A-game to Mondello however, she will be one to the reckoned with. 

Moby Dick Duathlon 2016 -

Barbara Dunne

Barbara Dunne has had a busy winter, winning the Moby Dick duathlon in Youghal, coming 2nd at the Ashford Duathlon in Cong and coming 3rd at the Connemara duathlon in Galway. She is currently ranked joint 3rd in the 2016 Duathlon National Series.

Siobhan Murtagh

Siobhan Murtagh finished 2nd behind Heather Foley at the first race of the Naas Duathlon series and backed up this performance with 4th place in race two of the series one month later. More recently she came 3rd place at the Ashford duathlon in Cong. Currently ranked joint third in the 2016 Duathlon National Series, a good result for Lough Key Tri Club athlete could see her secure her place in the medals.

 Others to Watch

Though the women's field might be smaller than the men's, there are still plenty more names to watch. Among those on the start list are Mairead Elliot, who is currently ranked 5th in the Duathlon National Series; 6th place ranked athlete Hannah Shields and Lizanne Barnwall, Nadine Gray and Joanne Boyle, the 7th, 8th and 9th placed ranked athletes.

You can still get an entry for the 2016 Duathlon National Championships until midnight tonight (Thursday) on our website.

Course details and start times are available on the race website and Triathlon Ireland will cover the men's and women's races live on Saturday through our twitter feed and on instagram.