Local athletes dominate at Westport Triathlon

Westport Triathlon 2019 from Tony FitzGerald on Vimeo.

Local athletes dominated proceedings in Round 4 of the BMW Triathlon National Series at Westport Triathlon. 

With three out of the four winners hailing from Co. Mayo there was plenty of local pride on show as more than 400 people raced across two distances in fine summer conditions.

Doherty and Hughes Bike to Standard Distance Victory

Men's Standard Distance Podium Westport Triathlon

In the Standard Distance BMW Triathlon National Series event, 19-year-old Aaron Doherty gave little impression that he was racing in one of his first triathlons as he came out of the swim with the leaders after 1,500m in the 13.9C water.

Doherty, who represented Ireland as a junior at the cycling world championships last season, quickly put the hammer down on roads he knows extremely well. By the time he reached T2, the Westport man (and brother of High Performance athlete Con Doherty) had pulled out an almost five minute lead over second placed Stephen Donnelly.

Middle Distance specialist Donnelly fought hard on the run and managed to claw back almost three of these minutes but in the end the gap was too large to bridge with Doherty cruising to the finish line to win in 1hr 54mins 35secs.

Westport Triathlon 2019 Generic Swim

Hesitant

He said afterwards that due to recent injuries, he was happy to finish in once piece:

“I’ve been quite injured over the last three months so I was definitely hesitant about taking on a 10km run as I’ve done hardly any running. But I just tried to keep my pace I knew he (Donnelly) was going to chase me down so I just tried to do my own thing.” 

Donnelly came home in 2nd and said with his focus on the Middle Distance Championships at the end of the month, he was happy with his outing:

“I knew there would be a good field at this so I said I’d do it to get some form. I was actually very happy with my swim so I’ll just recover now and train for the nationals.”

Third place went to Killian Nolan from Piranha Triathlon Club with the 4th quickest swim of the day and third quickest run cementing his place on the podium. 

Women's Standard Distance Podium Westport Triathlon 2019

Hughes Wins Women’s Standard Distance Race

Westport Triathlon Club had another reason to celebrate shortly afterwards when local athlete Hillary Hughes crossed the line to win the women’s standard distance event. Hughes, who like Doherty has a background in High Performance cycling, averaged 38.9km/hr on the bike leg to arrive in to T2 with an impressive lead over the rest of her competitors.

She continued the trend with the second quickest run of the day to cross the line in 2hrs 09mins 24secs to the delight of the waiting crowd.

“It’s so good, I’m really thrilled. I definitely didn’t expect but the idea of crossing the line first in your home town gave me a reason to dig as deep as I possibly could,” Hughes said afterwards.

Becky Woods came home next in 2hrs 13mins 14secs with Fiona Mangan in just her second standard distance race claiming third 90secs later.

Provisional results for the Standard Distance Event are available on the Westport TC Website and on CoreTiming 

Men's Sprint Distance Westport Triathlon 2019

Men's Sprint Distance

Earlier in the day High Performance junior athletes Sabian Kulczynski and Maeve Gallagher showed their class with conformable victories in the sprint distance race. 

Both led from the front with Kulcyznski completing the quickest swim and quickest run split of the day to finish with a time of 1hr 2mins 18secs.

Gallagher was particularly impressive as she crossed the line the second athlete of any gender, just a week after competing for Ireland at the European Champipmships at Weert where she finished a superb 11th.

Second in the men’s sprint distance race was Michael Davis in 1hr 5mins 48secs, ahead of third placed Richie Dooley who crossed the line just over a minute later.

Women's Sprint Distance Westport Triathlon 2019

The women’s podium was an all-Mayo affair with Westport's Niamh Richardson (racing for Kilkenny Triathlon Club) and Anne Heaney joining Maeve Gallagher in 2nd and third places respectively. 

Special mention also to paratriathlete Leo Hynes and his guide - who finished in 10th place overall.

Results from the sprint distance race are available on Westport Triathlon Club's website and CoreTiming