McCrystal and Sands Win Crooked Lake Triathlon

Bryan McCrystal and Catherine Sands won last weekend's Crooked Lake Triathlon in Co. Armagh. In this guest post, Newry Triathlon Club member Tony Bagnall reports on how the race unfolded:

Saturday was yet another amazing day at the Crooked Lake Triathlon.

Crowds thronged the banks of the lake to cheer on the brave triathletes, the excitement was tangible and there was a true carnival atmosphere as, after a year out due to lake repairs, the race returned with a bang.

Race director Catherine Murphy speaking after the event said: “I’m delighted the race in back. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and there was a good mix of locals and visitors. On Saturday a lot of new people discovered the joys of our area.”

Catherine continued: “I would like to thank our generous sponsors, including Brian Conlon of First Derivatives, Adrian Garvey of Synge and Byrne (who supplied the excellent food and who himself participated in the event), Gary McArdle of Cathedral Eye Clinic (who also participated in the race) plus of course the Newry, Mourne and Down Council.

Also helping Catherine in organising the event were: Patricia McParland, Padraig Mallon, Lorraine McKeown, Jacqueline Galway, Milo McCourt and members of both Carrickcruppen and Shane O’Neill’s GAA clubs.

Crooked Lake Men's Podium

The triathletes came from far and near to race around the beautiful south Armagh countryside but there was no one who could match the fearsome power of the mighty Dundalk man Bryan McCrystal who was second out of the water and thereafter totally dominated. The big man was just over 20 seconds behind ace swimmer Conor Fabb who blitzed the cool water in 9.57. Meanwhile Bryan’s time for the 20k hilly bike ride was 27.22 and after the five-kilometre run (19.07) he had almost two minutes to spare over the best of the rest, posting up a blistering overall time of 58.42.

Nonetheless Newry Triathlon Club’s Finbar McGrady had a superb race. The tall doctor, who excels in all three disciplines, took second spot. He swam 10.54, biked 29.23 and had the fastest run of the day with a brilliant 18.52 over the tough 5k hilly course. His overall time was 60.45.

Michael Sinton was third in 61.40 with super-biker Sean Featherstone grabbing fourth spot with a fast 62.01.

Crooked Lake Triathlon 2017 Female Podium

Still the local performance of the day surely came from Catherine Sands, the 25-year-old Rostrevor pharmacist winning the female race. It was the first time in the history of the event that a Newry Triathlon member scooped the main prize. Catherine who clocked 1.10.12 (with spits of 11.07, 33.32 and 23.21) had over two and half minute advantage over the second woman Emma Wilson with Lauren Strange third.

In the Crooked Lake there is always intense rivalry for the top Camlough/Bessbrook male and female triathlete awards. Two years ago Peter Tomany and Colleen Mallon carried off the cups – and surprise, surprise, the same duo won it again. Peter was eighth overall in 1.04.48 while Colleen, who only arrived from Australia, 24 hours previously and was obviously jet-lagged, still swam, biked and ran faster than any of her main rivals - in 1.21.26.

Other local category award winners were Henry O’Neill (1.06.55), Mickey Mallon (1.23.45), Tony Bagnall (1.33.08) and Victoria Kinnin (2.17.49). While podium winners from the locality were Sean McDonnell (1.06.01), Catherine McCloskey (1.15.38), Niall Auden (1.21.32), Alanah Mackin (1.27.24), Gerry Patton (1.27.28), Fiona O’Neill (1.29.04) and Patricia Brown (1.32.33).