Con Doherty (Westport Tri ) is no ordinary talent; he can dig deep when necessary and has the cutting edge to win as he has done in his age bracket at world level. In Ballinrobe he faced stiff opposition from Galway Tri man John Greaney who has racked up numerous wins this year against elite senior opposition, Greaney is a formidable runner and can hold his own on the bike, he won in Ballinrobe festival Duathlon last year and was the favourite again this year.
The race started at the top of Bridge Street, once the starter’s whistle blew all 80 plus participants sprinted down the hill heading for Creagh Road for the usual 4k lap of the Bowers walk, by the end of the lap the race had turned in to a three horse race with Con Doherty leading them into transition closely followed by John Greaney (Galway Tri ) and Aichlinn O’Reilly (Westport Tri ), with all the rest spread out over the course, such was the power running of this threesome.
On the bike stage, Greaney and Doherty pulled clear of O’Reilly and by the end of the 18k bike leg Doherty again sprinted into transition holding a three seconds advantage, the last technical 1k run should have suited Greaney but Doherty had the power and sprinted down the finishing strait on Main Street a clear winner in a new course record of 39:39. Greaney finished in second in 39:52, with Aichlinn O’Reilly third at 40:54.
In the ladies’ race Barbara Dunne (Galway Tri ) 47:43 used her experience to win by nearly a minute from Westport’s Mary Daley 48:30, with another Westport woman filling the podium in third, Catherine O’Grady 53:25.
More than 1,600 competitors to take on the challenge of Gaelforce West
Running for its ninth year Gaelforce West remains the original and the ultimate adventure race in the Irish calendar. This 67km race starts on Glassilaun beach in Connemara at dawn and finishes in Westport town centre, taking in parts of the Wild Atlantic Way. Along the stunning linear route competitors kayak across Killary Fjord, cycle through the Delphi valley, and climb Croagh Patrick. Ciara Young from organisers Gaelforce Events said: "This is our flagship race and remains the one that people want to achieve. It is a challenging route which keeps people coming back year after year to conquer it and to improve their times. This is definitely a rewarding personal journey for competitors." Amnesty International is the charity partner for the race again this year. CEO Colm O'Gorman and Team Amnesty are encouraging people to join them in the race and in raising funds and awareness for Amnesty’s Stop Torture campaign.