Doherty and Foley New National Standard Distance Triathlon Champions

CK Tri Swim

Ireland has two new standard distance triathlon national champions following commanding victories by Con Doherty and Heather Foley.

Both athletes overcame strong fields to win by what turned out to be comfortable margins at the Caroline Kearney Triathlon near Mullingar.

Bryan McCrystal led the men’s race heading out on the 10km run but had to settle for 2nd place to the fast running Doherty, whose Westport club mate Aichlinn O’Reilly rounded off the podium by finishing in third place.

Ellen Murphy finished in second place in the women’s race with Kim Hickey claiming the bronze medal position.

CK Tri Men's Podium

Men’s Race

One of the strongest fields in a number of years lined out for the men’s race, with numerous national champions and elite high performance development athletes towing the line.

A cluster of six men emerged from the water together following the 1,500m swim, led by Darren Dunne, Eoin Lyons, Con Doherty, Aichlinn O’Reilly, Cillian Tierney and last years winner at Caroline Kearney Tom McEnery.

Former middle distance champion Owen Cummins followed 30secs later but one of the pre race favourites, Bryan McCrystal was left with a lot of work to do as he came out of the water with a more than 3mins deficit.

On the bike, the Irish IRONMAN record holder showed incredible power to complete the 40km cycle in 52mins 43secs - clawing back more than four and a half minutes on the quickest swimmers and moving in to the race leader position by the time he entered transition.

Behind him, high performance development athletes Con Doherty and Aichlinn O’Reilly were also using their biking ability to distance their rivals, as they pulled clear from the rest of the field by a minute to enter T2 a handful of seconds apart in 2nd and 3rd.

Con Doherty CK Tri Finish Line

McCrystal said afterwards that he knew he needed a sizeable lead over Doherty to take the victory and with just over one minute between the two men heading out on the run, it wasn’t enough, with Doherty catching McCrystal in the first half of the 10km route.

The 22 year old ran a superb 33min 03secs 10km to cruise to his second national championships title of 2017 in a time of 1hr 51mins 55secs.

McCrystal finished in 1hr 54mins 48secs, holding out against Aichlinn O’Reilly, who crossed the line in 1hr 55mins 20secs to take third place.

The win by Con Doherty follows a fantastic second place at last weekend’s Malmo ETU elite triathlon race in Sweden.

He said afterwards that despite falling behind on the bike, he was confident he had the run speed to catch McCrystal.

“I was doing the maths in my head on the run to figure out the average speed and what the gap would be. But I was confident after he passed me 25km in to the bike.”

Doherty continued: “I am having a great season, it’s crazy - the funny thing is that I probably care less this season but it’s coming together so I am not going to question it, I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Bryan McCrystal was doing similar calculations, as he revealed after crossing the finish line. But despite finishing the runner up, the Dundalk man was full of praise for this competitors: 

“I didn’t have a perfect race, I had some problems on the swim and just didn’t feel great but once I got on the bike I was in my comfort zone but I probably left it with a wee bit too much work.”

He continued: “The cream of the crop of triathlon in Ireland are here so congratulations to  Con, he had a great race the way he passed me on the run was very convincing. The most I could look for today given he field was second place so I am really happy with that.”

Men’s Top Ten

  1. Constantine Doherty   01:51:55
  2. Bryan Mccrystal          01:54:48
  3. Aichlinn O'reilly          01:55:20
  4. Eoin Lyons                  01:55:58
  5. Darren Dunne             01:56:51
  6. Mariusz Olejniczak
  7. Cillian Tierney           01:58:36
  8. Tom Mcenery             01:58:54
  9. Paul Carroll               02:00:09
  10. Owen Cummins         02:02:16

Provisional Results:

CK Tri Women's Podium

Women’s Race

In the women’s race, reigning Sprint Distance Champion Heather Foley justified her status as pre-race favourite by leading the field for almost the entire competition.

Foley came out of the water in 3rd place alongside Siobhan Gallagher in a time of 22mins 07secs for the 1,500m distance. Ahead of them was teenager Niamh Corry who swam the quickest split of the day (21mins 14secs) to head in to transition as the clear leader.

On the bike Foley asserted her dominance however and moved in to the lead, a position she never relinquished as she posted the second quickest bike split and quickest run split of the women’s field to cross the line the victor in 2hrs 10mins 15secs.

Meanwhile Ellen Murphy of Dublin club Belpark was doing some remarkable catching up following a below par swim, overtaking more than 10 women on her way to posting the quickest bike split of the day to come in to T2 in the top five. Murphy continued her form on the run and finished the race in second place, crossing the line in 2hrs 16mins 12secs.

Third place went to Kim Hickey, thanks in part to the third quickest run split of the day. She finished exactly one minute behind Murphy to claim the bronze medal for Pulse Triathlon Club.

Heather Foley CK Tri Finish Line

Speaking at the finish line, Heather Foley said she didn’t feel the pressure of the being the race favourite:

“I’ve enjoyed this year, I don’t really feel there’s pressure on me. I just enjoy it and I think that’s the most important thing. I’ve nothing to loose and I just want to do my best.”

“I don’t have as much time during the week to train so I enjoy my racing. I’m not afraid to race so that’s my motivation, it keeps you fit as well.”

Ellen Murphy explained that her relatively poor swim cost her time but she didn’t give up:

I got a cramp on the swim and thought my race was over but I just kept composed. I knew as I was good bit down coming out of the water so I just pushed on the bike. I was catching a couple of the girls and that gave me a bit of focus to see who else was up the road.”

Women’s Top Ten

  1. Heather L Foley          02:10:15
  2. Ellen Murphy              02:16:12
  3. Kim Hickey                 02:17:12
  4. Siobhan Gallagher      02:19:45
  5. Sally Mchugh               02:19:53
  6. Kate Kelly                  02:21:02
  7. Jessica Bruton            02:22:14
  8. Catherine A Sands       02:22:56
  9. Olivia Ni Shuilleabhain02:23:04
  10. Jackie Kelly                02:23:58F35-39

Provisional Results: