Ironman is a discipline is considered by some as the most gruelling one day endurance challenges in the world. It consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike followed by a full marathon, however those arduous distances don’t deter the hundreds of Irish athletes who take part each year.
Eimear Mullan of Portstewart turned professional in 2011 and has since enjoyed a meteoric rise in the sport. On Sunday, Mullan became Ireland’s first ever Ironman Champion after winning Ironman UK. Mullan swam the 3.8km in 1hr 13mins 19secs, biked the 180km in 5hr 42mins 25secs and finished off with a 3hr 18min marathon. Her time of 10hr 8min 44secs gave a winning margin of eight minutes over Amanda Stevens of the USA, while Annett Kamenz of Germany came third. Stevens, a noted swimmer, had a five minute advantage out of the water however Mullan set the fastest bike and run splits of the day to overtake the American athlete.
In International Triathlon Union racing, Irish Olympic athlete Aileen Morrison wasn’t firing on all cylinders on Sunday’s sprint distance race in Hamburg and finished in 36th place. Gavin Noble will be pleased with his performance prior to the London Olympics, finishing 1min 29secs off the winner, in 41st position.
Considered one of the toughest courses in the country, the ‘Beast of the East’ took place in Wicklow over the weekend. Stephen Early, fresh from a second place finish at the National Aquathlon Championships, wasn’t intimidated by the course and pulled out a considerable lead over the 1500m lake swim. Shane Scully of the Nenagh Triathlon Club took second place, while local favourite, Noelie Kavanagh, came third.
In the women’s race, Linda Clarke led out of the water with an incredible 22min 17sec swim. Top contenders, Aoife Lynch, Marie Boland and Rachel Glendon soon came to the fore and were all evenly matched over the bike and run. In a tight finish, it was Lynch who took the win in a time of 2hrs 22mins 33secs, closely followed by Boland who managed to sprint clear of Glendon by just three seconds.