It always seems to shine at the North Tipp Sprint. The sun was out once again on this the 6th edition of the race. The sun wasn’t the only thing that was shining, as Kevin Thornton and Anna Crooks shone on the National Series stage today and sent a message out to everyone that they are the people to beat in 2013.
Race Photos: Will be online shortly.
In the men’s race: it was Stephen Rooney who exited from the pool first, well ahead of the opposition in a time of 8:53. Stephen is one of Ireland’s best up and coming underage triathletes so this was not a surprise. Next out of the pool was Eoin Lyons from Waterford who was closely tailed by Ross Higgins and Rory Sexton with Kevin Thornton just another 10 seconds back. Also in the mix at this stage were David Richardson, Darren Dunne, and Louis Kelleher. Bill McCormack was 2:30 down on Stephen but, with his potential bike split, was still in contention.
Onto the bike and it was Kevin Thornton that soon powered into the lead. He produced the fastest bike split of the day and fastest bike split ever on that course to take a commanding lead entering T2. With Kevin 1.45 ahead the rest were battling for 2nd place. Bill McCormack had a very fast bike too and managed to put a little distance into everyone else. Next into T2 were Rory Sexton, Louis Kelleher and Stephen Rooney. It was clear at this stage that those 4 lads were battling for the final two podium positions.
The run is a little long and has a tough hill in it so breaking the 18 minute barrier is very rare indeed. Mairtin Grealish set a fantastic new low time for the run with a time split of 17:53 which brought him up to 8th position overall. There was no stopping Kevin Thornton as he came home a convincing winner in a time of 59:47. This was the first time that anyone has gone under the hour mark in Nenagh and it beats Conor Murphy’s previous record from 2010. This all helped Kevin to pocket €270 in cash from the day. Not a bad days work!
Filling the podium were Rory Sexton and Stephen Rooney who proved any doubters wrong as to their ability on the bike. They both produced excellent run times too, but in the end, Stephen Rooney’s super fast run split of 18:02 was not enough to overall Rory Sexton. Bill McCormack was just 19 seconds off a podium finish but he too can be happy with his day’s work.
In the women’s race: it was looking like it would be a tight battle between Anna Crooks, Andree Walkin, Marie Boland and Rachel Clancy. All 4 girls went in wave 7 so each knew what they had to do. It was Marie Boland that led the way out of the pool and T1, she was followed by Anna Crooks, Rachel Clancy and Andree Walkin. There was less than a minute between the girls at this stage so everything was left to play for.
On the bike, it was Rachel Clancy that took control of the race. She had a fantastic bike split of 33:18 which not alone bet all the women by over 1 minute but also bet most of the men. Would this be enough to set her up for victory? Rachel had been running very well recently so she would have fancied her chances. Next in off the bike was Anna Crooks. She was just under one minute down but there are very few girls faster than her at running in triathlon in Ireland. Marie Boland also put in a solid bike split and was still in the hunt. As last year’s National Series champ she was still in with a good shout. Unfortunately Andree had trailed off slightly and so the race was down to just three for the podium.
Anna Crooks blitzed the run in a superb time of 19:49. This was faster than most men and it was also the fastest run split of any woman on this course ever. This fantastic effort led to her overtaking Rachel Clancy for the win. Anna now becomes the first person to win the North Tipp Sprint twice and surely she will be one to watch out for this year. Rachel came in just 30 seconds after and should be very happy with her efforts. Marie Boland was home 25 seconds later to take 3rd place. All three girls were 2 to 3 minutes faster than the winning time from 2012 which just shows you the type of early season form they are in. Andree Walkin was next girl in followed by Kim Hickey. Andree might be a little unhappy with her performance today but she is a fighter and she will be back.
Tadhg Kenehan deserves a special mention after this race. Tadhg is a para-triathlete competing for the Piranha triathlon club in Dublin and was competing in his first ever triathlon. He proved to be an inspiration to us all finishing in a very respectable time of 1:38. Well done Tadhg!
Our local club members put in some strong performances. 16 year old Darren Dunne finished in the top 10 with a time of 1:04 but I am sure he was hoping for a little better. This was Darren’s first ‘proper’ triathlon so he should be happy with his performance. Mikey O’Dwyer made a welcome return to racing action placing 66th overall. Next was Sinnead Oakes who finished in 70th overall but was 7th female overall. That was a fine result. Ronan O’Driscoll was next in 74th and Eoin O’Donoghue was 80th. Well done must also go to our other junior Ross O’Meara who only took up the sport very recently and finished today in 144th.
The club would like to say well done to everyone that won age group prizes. There are too many to mention here but fair play to ye all. The club would also like to thank all our marshalls for helping out, the Order of Malta, the technical officials for the race, the staff of the Nenagh Leisure Centre, the CBS school, the race committee, Red tag timing, the Abbey Court Hotel and anyone else that helped out in some way.
We hope to see everyone back again in Nenagh for 2014. Until then have a very successful 2013 season.