The 6th North Tipp. Sprint takes place this weekend and what a race we have in store. For the last 5 years we have had clear skies and an easterly wind. The long term forecast looks like things might be a little different this year, with cloud cover and a head wind on the return bike leg looking likely.
As is typical for this event we have had some wild 750m swimming predictions. No less than 40 people have predicted times of 11 minutes or less (last year 8 people in total went under 11 mins!!). Ye have all either been living in the pool over the winter or the noses on your faces are growing and growing. We shall see on the day!
Anyway onto the racing………..so who is going to win??
There are roughly 270 entrants in this race and as usual we have a wide variety of abilities. If you are a beginner to this sport and this is your 1st triathlon then don’t worry, you will be fine! There are plenty of people in the same boat as you.
The men’s field is very strong this year. William McCormack, David Richardson and Mairtin Grealish were 6th, 7th and 9th in last year’s National Series. David was also 2nd in last year’s race so he will be eager to go one better this time. Also on the start line will be Patrick Quinn who was 3rd in this race last year and 14th overall in the National Series.
Rory Sexton and Stephen Rooney are top juniors and if they can put in low bike splits then they will both have a great chance of winning. My pre-race favourite would have to be Kevin Thornton (www.kttriathlete.com). Kevin is looking to do well in the National Series this year and is training hard. If he continues on his great form from last year then he will be hard to beat.
Other triathletes to look out for on the day will be Lochlainn Connolly, Stephen Donnelly, Shane Scadding, Louis Kelleher and as always there will be some surprise packages tearing up the previous form book.
Darren Dunne will fly the flag for the local club this year. He will be hoping to gate crash the overall winner’s podium but that’s easier said than done. Mikey O’Dwyer, Eoin O’Donoghue and Ronan O’Driscoll will also be looking to put in quick performances.
If the lads all push each other hard then the course record could be in jeopardy!
The women’s race also sees two of last years podium finishers return in the shape of Marie Boland who was 2nd and Andree Walkin who was 3rd. Marie is also the defending National Series champion from 2012 so she really is the girl to beat. Andree was 4th in the National Series so will be keen to improve on that. They will face stiff opposition from Anna Crooks who was 5th in last year’s National Series and is a former winner of this race in 2011
Rachel Clancy is another woman to look out for. She is a relative new comer to the sport but is making quick progress. Edel Quinn and Sarah Lane have performed well on this course in the past and will look to do even better next weekend. Joanne Hope could also do well at this race.
Sinnead Oakes will likely be the top woman for Nenagh and she will certainly be looking for a high overall finish. Cliodhna McGrath and Margaret Hogan should both do well too.
It’s certainly shaping up to be another interesting trip to Tipp. We hope everyone enjoys the race and don’t worry about the race too much during the week. Tis only the first race of the season so it’s best just to enjoy it as there are plenty more big challenges ahead. See you all soon.