Thousands Race IM 70.3 Dublin, CK Tri & Lough Neagh: Weekend Round-Up

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McCrystal Pipped to IM 70.3 Dublin Title

Bryan McCrystal added another fantastic result to his list of achievements over the weekend with an extremely impressive performance at Ironman 70.3 Dublin.

McCrystal, who was racing the event as an Age Grouper, finished second overall in the race - just 14secs behind US winner Ben Collins.

The Drogheda man started the race 10mins after the Pro Men's field, but thanks to the quickest bike split of the entire race (2hrs 6mins 34secs), he had moved to the front of the race by the time he arrived in the Phoenix Park for the 21km run.

McCrystal covered the run course in 1hr 20mins 36secs to finish with an overall time of 4:00:56 - bringing him excruciatingly close to the overall winner Collins, who had earlier walked over the line in 4:00:41, unaware of the fact that McCrystal, while ten minutes back in real time, was just seconds behind him in the virtual standings.

Speaking after the race, McCrystal told Triathlon Ireland that while he was disappointed to miss out on the overall victory, he was happy with his performance:

"I got out of the water quite fast for me and I had a quick transition. The bike was tough, I found it hard to get in to my rhythm for the first 20 miles but on the back end of it I got the speed up. I was very happy with my run and got to test the legs."

Bryan McCrystal IM70.3 Dublin 2016 2

Already this year, McCrystal has won the Duathlon National Championships, was one of the stars of the 2016 domestic cycling season and booked his place at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii thanks to 5th overall finish at Ironman UK. He said he's been delighted with how things have gone: 

"I've ticked a lot of boxes, I am doing all the things I enjoy and I think that's transferring in to my performances . Once you can race with a smile on your face I think it gives a load back."

Next up for McCrystal is the Lost Sheep triathlon - a race he won convincingly in 2015 and one which will decide the 2016 Middle Distance National Championships this year. McCrystal wants to defend his Lost Sheep title but said Kona will be a learning experience.

"I love (the Lost Sheep), it's a gorgeous part of the world and trying to win that is a big goal, you can't discount all the good Irish middle distance guys but I will try and get the win there. (Kona), that's new territory and will be a whole new learning experience. I don't know how I will react to the heat and all the obstacles that Kona brings, It's a different animal, it's not comparable to any other race I am told, it eats people alive and I will be no different but I am sure I will learn from it and enjoy it."

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Collins Wins

More than 1,900 athletes raced Ironman 70.3 Dublin in near perfect conditions. American Ben Collins won the overall title and revealed afterwards that he has Irish roots: "It's been over 100 years that my family has been here but I like to think my ancestors would be proud to see me come back like this."

Collins spent most of the race comfortably ahead of his fellow pros and wasn't aware that in the virtual standings, he was in danger of being beaten by McCrystal, who started the race in a separate wave.

Just how lucky Collins was not to be pipped to the victory was underlined when speaking immediately after crossing the line, he revealed that he had eased up towards the end of the race:

"When I started the run I know I had a pretty good gap, I heard at one point it was 10 and a half minutes so I just thought 'put it in cruise control', make sure I can get to the finish line feeling good, I just wanted to cross the finish line with a smile and that's all I had to do."

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Cheetham Makes it Two in a Row

In the women's race, defending champion Susie Cheetham was too strong for her rivals and finished 4mins clear in a time of 4hrs 22mins 33secs. The first Irish woman home was Aileen Flynn from Piranha Triathlon Club who crossed the line in 4hrs 41mins 39secs.

Relive the race with finish line interviews of the men's and women's winners on the Triathlon Ireland facebook page.

You can see the full results from the race here.

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McEnery and Ni Mhurchu Win CK Tri 

The day before, Aileen Flynn's Piranha clubmate Tom McEnery took victory in the 2016 staging of the Caroline Kearney Memorial Triathlon. McEnery lead the Vodafone National Series race from the beginning, carving out a 2min advantage on the swim that his competitors were unable to overhaul during the Olympic distance event.

CK Tri 2016 Men's Podium

He crossed the line in 2hrs 2mins 37secs - 54secs ahead of second placed man Mariusz Olejniczak with Kevin Keane in 3rd place a further 2secs back.

Caoimhe Ni Mhurchu CK Tri 2016

In the women's race, Caoimhe Ni Mhurchu (2:13:45) was a comfortable winner ahead of Derval Devaney (2:17:02) and Annemarie Power (2:22:31). Provisional results from the race are available on RaceTimingSolutions while three separate galleries containing hundreds of images of competitors are available on our facebook page.

 

Lough Neagh 2016 Men's Podium

Lough Neagh 

Meanwhile more than 200 competitors lined up along the shores of Lough Neagh for the 16th edition of the Tobermore Lough Neagh Triathlon.

Daniel Quigley won the men's race in a time of 1:04:52 with Richard Doyle 2nd 14secs back and James Cleland following in third 44secs later.

Lough Neagh 2016 Laura Wylie

The women's race was won by Laura Wylie over teenager Jemma Speers and Amy O'Keeffe.

Provisional results are available on ChampionChip Ireland while hundreds of images are on the Triathlon Ireland facebook page.