Triathletes from around the country congregated in Mullingar last weekend for an Olympic distance event to honour the memory of the woman who might have been first to represent the country in the sport.
Caroline Kearney tragically lost her life in a training accident in 2006 but was widely tipped to be the first Irish triathlon Olympian to qualify for Beijing in 2008.
Almost 300 people attended the gruelling 5th Annual Caroline Kearney Memorial National Series Olympic Distance Triathlon at Mullingar, an event that has earned its place on the national triathlon programme.
The event attracted seasoned campaigners as well as relative novices aged 18 to 68 who took on the challenge of a 1,500m swim across Lough Ennell, a 40km bike course through Dysart and Castletown-Geoghegan, and a 10km run in and around the Jonathan Swift Park.
The event was part of the Vodafone Triathlon Ireland National Series, allowing some of Ireland’s top athletes to earn points towards their final placings in national rankings.
Race director Ken Collins was “extremely happy” with the success of the event and encourages anyone interested in triathlon to make contact with Midland Triathlon Club at www.midlandtri.com
The Mullingar event brought “a festive atmosphere to the shores of the lake and to local towns”, he said.
It was a hugely successful event for the midlands club, one that couldn’t have taken place without the support of Westmeath County Council, An Garda Siochana, Order of Malta, Mullingar Canoe Club, Mullingar Sub Aqua Club, Westmeath Sports Partnership, and Lilliput Adventure Centre.
The event was won by Belpark Tri Club’s Craig Longmore, with second place taken by Colm Turner of Limerick Tri Club and Mark Horan of Pulse in third place.
The ladies’ event was won by Piranha’s Jennifer Duffy who was followed by Brianne Mulvihill of Carrick on Suir, with Lunne Algar of Limerick Tri Club in third place.