Galway's Kevin Thornton triumphs in Lough Cutra triathlon

Galway Triathlon Club's Kevin Thornton was triumphant in the longest race at Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon, in Gort on Sunday.  

Competing in the event known as The Gauntlet, a tough half iron distance, with 200 competitors, Thornton led from the swim exit and smashed the course record with 4:15:08.

In a tight race for second, Mariusz Olejniczak of Naas Triathlon Club pipped UK elite Matt Leeman by just 30 seconds, while Siobhan Gallagher (Donegal ) led the women's race home in a time of 5:11:39.

Thornton said Lough Cutra is a great venue for the triathlon.

"I really enjoyed the course," he said. "The lake was fresh, but I was happy with my swim. I really loved the bike course through the Burren, it's a very honest course, and I absolutely loved the two hills. The trail part of the run was especially great, I'd done the Olympic here a few years back and think it's a great venue for triathlon."

Other Galway successes were Martin Divilly (Team Collinamux ) who was third in the Sprint Plus (women ), Miriam Wall was second in the Super Sprint (women ). and both Ciara O'Boyle of Predator Tri Club and David Stewart from Craughtwell finished second in their respective Starter Sprint races.

Some 1200 competitors took part in the event at Lough Cutra, which hit the headlines last week with the visit of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

Now in its fourth year, the event has become a firm fixture on the national triathlon calendar, increasing in size every year, while the children's section almost doubled this year.  Eight races were on offer, including the new Starter Sprint, and once again the Olympic distance was a Triathlon Ireland National Series race.

First over the line in the Olympic distance was young Aichlinn O'Reilly of Westport Triathlon Club in his first standard event, finishing in 2:05:15.  Kitty Perle (3D Tri Club ) was a clear winner in the women's event in 2:32:37. In the Sprint Plus race (800m/44km/8km ) Trevor Woods from Cork Tri Club and Rachel Clancy of Limerick Triathlon were the winners, while the Super Sprint was won by Kieran Jackson and Claire Scott.

The Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon is the first of the five Castle Triathlon Series weekend events in Ireland, England and France.

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