First Triathlon of 2020 at the Hardman Skellig Half Triathlon made its return at the Hardman Skellig Half today, Saturday the 25th of July. The atmosphere was electric as triathletes gathered for the first triathlon of 2020. Not even the wind and rain could dampen spirits of those about to take on the challenge of a middle distance triathlon. The Hardman Skellig Half course is challenging, made tougher by conditions for this morning’s swim. Athletes leave Waterville on a one loop bike course taking in circa 1300m of elevation and some of the most scenic views Kerry has to offer. A rolling run along the coast finishes the route with views overlooking the bay.Safety MeasuresTriathlon Ireland have collaborated with Technical Officials, Clubs and Event Organisers around the country on safety measures to ensure triathlon makes a safe return. The event was run in line with the current Covid-19 Phase 3 Government Guidelines and the Triathlon Ireland Covid-19 Event Guidelines for Organisers, as approved by Sport Ireland. Today, athletes arrived to a much larger transition area than usual, with 2 metres the guideline for distance between bikes. Among the other safety measures in place were:Registration completed online in advanceRolling start for the swimNo bag drop - athletes were able to keep their bags on their transitions spot if necessary.Self Service Aid StationsAny penalties incurred were added to the athlete’s overall time, there was no penalty box.Athletes weren't able to gather in the finish area and transition remained open so bikes could be removed as soon as athletes were finished.All Prizes are posted after the event, there was no prize giving ceremony.You can read more about the safety measures in place for Triathlon Ireland sanctioned events in the Covid-19 Event Guidelines for Athletes.Hughes in top formCurrent Middle Distance National Champ and 2019 BMW Triathlon National Series winner Hilary Hughes showed the hard work she has been putting in over the last few months with a convincing win in the women’s race, and eighth place overall. Winning in a time of 5:00:31, Hilary was over half an hour quicker than the rest of the field. 2019 IRONMAN World Championship Qualifier and Cork Triathlon Club member Annemarie Power was second onto the run course in the middle distance race, with Kate Collins Smyth in third and Vanessa Fenton in fourth. In a correction to the previously published results (due to an error with a timing chip), Kate Collins Smyth finished in second place in the final results. Collins Smyth made up the time she had lost to Power on the bike course by running a quick 1:36:43 half marathon. Annemarie Power was third in 5:32:48 and Vanessa Fenton finished in fourth with a time of 5:45:13.Donnelly Wins in WatervilleDavid Sheridan led the men’s field out of the swim with one of the quickest swims of the day in tough conditions - 26.37 for 1900 metres. Oran McGee was one second quicker in the swim but losing some time in T1 was just behind Sheridan starting the bike, and Stephen Donnelly in third.Out on the undulating 96 kilometre bike course, Donnelly took the lead to leave the trio completing the race matching their bib numbers - one,two,three. Stephen Donnelly ran one of the quickest run splits of the day to open up a ten minute lead and earning a win at the first triathlon of 2020. David Sheridan was second in 4:49:06 and Oran McGee third in 4:50:14.resultsFull results from today can be viewed on SportSplits.com here.Start of the SeasonToday's triathlon in Waterville signals the start of the 2020 triathlon season. Did you know there are more races available for entry right now on our website?All races we list are fully sanctioned according to our safety and fair play standards and all follow strict Covid-19 standards so you can participate worry free and Embrace the Summer!