Preview: National Standard Distance Champs

Caroline Kearney

The 2017 Standard Distance Championships takes place tomorrow at Caroline Kearney Memorial Triathlon and as befits one of the season’s most sought after titles, the field is incredibly strong.

The Course

The course at CK Tri is very flat and very fast. Beginning in the shallow waters of Lough Ennell, competitors complete a triangular single lap 1,500m. Transition is relatively short while the bike is extremely fast, with flat roads throughout that take competitors around the lake in a single 40km loop.

The out and back run course is on a minor and painfully straight road, leaving nowhere to hide for those who are trying to hold on to a lead. 

More details on the course and a timetable for the day is available on Midland TC's website.

Men’s Field

Con Doherty with Bike

Con Doherty

In the men’s race, it's hard to bet against elite athlete Con Doherty. Doherty has a clutch of increasingly impressive performances behind him so far this season, including two top ten ETU European Cup finishes, the National Aquathlon Championships and a series of bike race victories in his spare time. 

Most impressively however he finished 2nd behind Marten Van Riel (6th in the Rio Olympics) last weekend at Malmo ETU - easily the biggest result of his international career so far.

Doherty is strong across swim, bike and run and if he brings last weekend’s form to CK Tri it would be almost impossible to bet against him.

Bryan McCrystal IM Record

Bryan McCrystal

Bryan McCrystal won the Standard Distance Championships in 2012 but most people know him from his middle distance and iron distance exploits, where he has been dominant for a number of years. McCrystal broke the Irish IRONMAN record twice last season and it will be intruiging to see how he fares against the slew of young ITU focused High Performance Development athletes racing CK Tri. 

McCrystal’s bike splits are the stuff of legend and tend to draw attention away from his increasingly impressive swim and run splits, which have made him a more complete triathlete in recent years. 

Aichlinn O'Reilly two Provinces 2017

Aichlinn O'Reilly

Aichlinn O’Reilly hasn’t approached McCrystal-esque bike splits yet, but he’s not too far off it. The Mayo man has won a string of middle distance races in 2017 and proved himself very competitive in the shorter distance Super Series events too. O’Reilly also happens to have a strong swim which combined with his bike power, could see him right at the front of the race by T2.

Darren Dunne HOTW

Darren Dunne

Darren Dunne has been showing his class for a number of years now. The winner of the 2016 Super Series and a regular podium athlete at sprint and standard distance, he finished runner up at last year’s National Championships and all things going well could go one better tomorrow.

Cillian Tierney HOTW 2016 1

Cillian Tierney

Cillian Tierney surprised many people when he finished 3rd at last year’s Standard Distance National Champs in Hell of the West at the age of just 18. One year on, he’s had a late starting season due to exam commitments but has shown great form in the few races he’s competed in thus far. 

Rory Sexton Wins Hell of the West 2017

RorySexton

After taking a break from the sport, Rory Sexton made a loud return by winning this year’s Hell of the West. Sexton has a strong all round game.

 

 Eoin Lyons Sligo SS

EoinLyons

The 2015 Super Series champion concentrated mostly on middle distance racing last year, something that could play to his favour on the non-drafting bike leg. 

Tom McEnery DCT 2016

Others to watch include Tom McEnery, who comes in to CK Tri as the defending race champion and National Series champion;  Owen Cummins, the Middle Distance Champion from 2011; Mariusz Olejniczak, who finished as the runner up to Tom McEnery last year; and Donncha Kiely, who makes the journey up from Cork with some great form this season having won Jailbreak Standard distance back in July. 

Heather Foley Wins City of Derry 2017

Women’s Field

The women’s field has one clear favourite in the form of the reigning middle distance, duathlon and sprint distance champion, Heather Foley.

Foley raced her first elite event in more than a decade last week in Malmo so should be in good form for a distance she thrives at. 

Kirsten Huysamen 2016

Kirsten Huysamen

While few women have been able to match Foley in recent years, there are a number who could pull off an upset. Kirsten Huysamen is one of them and while she hasn't hit the heights of victory in a major race yet this season has been incredibly consistent - something reflected in her first place ranking in the Women’s Cat 1 table of the Super Series.

Ellen Murphy Two Provinces 2016

Ellen Murphy

Ellen Murphy was part of the team that claimed the Mixed Relay Championships for Belpark TC earlier this year and has proven herself one of the most consistently competitive athletes in the country for a number of years now.

 Niamh Corry Two Provinces 2017

Niamh Corry

Corry comes in to the race with a fifty place finish at the Super Series race at Two Provinces Triathlon and victory at the National Aquathlon Championships the following weekend.

Marie Boyle Powerman 2014

Other names to watch out for during the race include Siobhan Gallagher who like Corry is a strong swimmer - something that could put her in the mix coming out of the water; Kim Hickey, Cobh TC’s Jessica Bruton and the always competitive Marie Boyle. 

CK Tri 2016 3

Live Coverage

Racing begins at 10am and all the action will be covered as it happens on Triathlon Ireland’s Facebook page, instagram and on twitter.