The 2017 Triathlon Ireland Awards annual eventLast Saturday, 18 November, the triathlon community donned the glad rags instead of lycra for the annual Triathlon Ireland Awards Night. This year's awards were held in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin where close to 200 guests attended the sold-out event. Triathlon Ireland was delighted to welcome Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the event as guest of honour. An Taoiseach opened the awards with a speech outlining his love of all things triathlon and spoke of how he has had a long involvement in the sport.National titlesThe age-group and overall medals and trophies for the National Series, Duathlon Series, and all Championships were given out at the event - for lists of these winners please see the TI 'Year in Review' series of articles on the website here.National Series overall wins were awarded to Maeve Maher McWilliams and James Hoare on the evening. In Super Series Cat 1 Ailbhe Carroll and Alastair Rogers received the overall awards. Ben Ryan and Elizabeth Carr collected overall wins for the Super Series Cat 2 division.Athletes of the yearParatriathlete of the Year was awarded to Tojo Lazarri who has had a great season with numerous podium finishes including a superb bronze at the Rotterdam Triathlon Grand Final in the Open Paratriathlon PTS4 Final.High Performance Athlete of the Year went to Russell White for the second year in succession. White had a very successful 2017 season, steadily climbing up the WTS rankings and finishing the season with 15th place at the WTS Grand Final in Rotterdam.Junior Athlete of the Year went to Maeve Gallagher and the Age Group Team Ireland Award went to Elizabeth O'Connor.Caroline Kearney awardThe Caroline Kearney Award was awarded to Ireland's most successful international triathlete, Aileen Reid. The Olympian retired this year after a glittering career in the sport - she was ranked inside the top ten triathletes in the world for three consecutive years and remains the only Irish athlete to podium at a World Series ITU event. Aileen couldn't be at the event to accept the award but sent a video acceptance speech that was warmly received by all in attendance.Club & race of the yearBoth Club and Race of the Year went to Dublin with Pulse Triathlon Club winning Club of the Year and the ever popular Dublin City Triathlon winning Race of the Year. behind the scenesThere were also a number of awards given out to those who are the backbone of the sport, those behind the scenes.Our sport is built on volunteers, without them events simply couldn't take place and clubs would not run. This year's Volunteer of the Year is Helen French from Belpark Triathlon Club, where Helen has most recently been Chairperson.Technical Official of the Year was awarded to Pat Dempsey. Coach of the Year for 2017 is Steven Moody.the Spirit of triathlonThe Spirit of Triathlon Award was created in order to recognise those who embody the inclusive nature and spirit of triathlon. Vicky McCarthy from Tralee Triathlon Club was nominated for this award by her sister Leanne and is the inaugural winner. Vicky has overcome the odds to compete in Triathlon herself but, not only that, is also hugely supportive of her clubmates and newcomers to her club. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was in attendance and presented Vicky with her award.Hall of fameThere were two inductees to the newly created Triathlon Ireland Hall of Fame. Ann Kearney and Gerard Hartmann are two legends of the sport here in Ireland. Gerard was in attendance to collect his award and gave an inspiring speech about his journey in triathlon, what the sport means to him and his friend, the late Ann Kearney. Ann's daughter Edith Kearney attended the awards to collect the award on behalf of her mother. There was a standing ovation in the room for the inductees upon their acceptance of the awards.For all the photos from the evening you can go to our Facebook Gallery here.Huge congratulations to all the medal and award winners. That's a wrap for the 2017 season, we're already looking forward to next year!