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Last weekend saw 2,000 competitors take part in the Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon, delivering personal bests, incredible race experiences and huge inspiration.

Spectators and competitors enjoyed an electric atmosphere at the privately owned Galway estate from early morning to late afternoon with exhilarating racing across the 14 triathlon events, the new off road 10k & Half Marathon along with the new swim only 5k, 2.5k and 1 mile swim events.

The stunning setting of the castle and lake at Lough Cutra Castle provided the perfect backdrop for a great weekend of racing with rain making only a brief appearance early on Sunday morning, the sunshine was high in the sky making for some very fast racing times across the board.

Fast & Furious Racing

Saturday morning saw the BMW Super Series Men’s draft legal race as the curtain raiser. A talented field of super-fast athletes took on the Standard distance race at 8am with Cillian Tierney edging out Aaron O’Brien and James Walton to take the title on race day.  Tierney who was second in Carlow two weeks ago finished in 2:00:00 taking his first win of the series for 2018.

In the Mixed Relay Club Championships on Saturday afternoon 40 teams took to the start line for some thrilling triathlon racing. Belpark Triathlon Club put in a superb performance to retain their 2017 title, Ennis Triathlon club edged out Limerick  Tri Club to take the second step of the podium with Limerick finishing in 3rd place for the second year in a row. The race format saw teams of four members each race a 250m swim, 5k bike and 1.5k run in relay format.  Predator Tri club retained their title of Junior Club champions much to the excitement of the vast gathering of parents, supporters and spectators at the Castle.

Sunday morning’s feature race, the BMW National Series Olympic Race saw over 400 competitors complete a 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run. The UK’s Sam Wade successfully defended his 2017 title in a time of 2:05:30, leading from the front he was fastest out of the water, first back into transition after the bike and first to break the tape on the day.  Fellow countryman Steven Sims took second in 2:11:28.  Best of the Irish was 3rd place Finbar Mc Grady from Newry Triathlon Club in 2:12:54.

In the women’s race it was Catherine Jameson who led from the start, exiting the water in first place, finishing the race with a 9 minute lead to break the tape in 2:20:00. In second was Letterkenny’s Siobhan Gallagher with Catherine Sands from Newry in third place.

In the Gauntlet Half Iron Distance race, Achlinn O’Reilly, King of the Castle from 2017 successfully defended his crown to finish the race in 4:18:23.  On the chase all morning was 2nd place Bryan Mc Crystal who came into T2 with a 10 minute deficit, he bridged that time over the 21k run to come in just 1:06 behind the champion in a time of 4:19:29,  Mark Millar rounded out the podium to finish in 4:35:05. The women’s race saw Aine Donegan in a commanding position from the gun, exiting the water in 2nd place she quickly took the lead on the bike which saw her cross the line in a time of 4:56:47.  Belpark’s Ellen Murphy came in second place in 5:10:42 with Pirahna’s Nicola Hickey- Crowe rounding out the podium in a time of 5:28:43.  Aine Donegan posted the fastest female bike split on the day for the 96km ride winning herself a pair of Wheelscience race wheels worth €1,800

Inspiring a Generation

As well as the featured races there were a host of sprint distances on Saturday as well as a draft legal race for 13-15 year olds, the racing in this category as fierce and exciting as the adult races throughout the morning. Sunday afternoon the youngest of the athletes ranging in age from 8-12 years old enjoyed lots of fun and great competition as they completed their triathlon races. Stealing the show on the day young Bailey Matthews completed his triathlon crossing the finish line unaided after ditching his walker 50 metres from the finish line, the inspiring young athlete completed a 200m, 4k cycle and 1.8k run striding to the finish line much to the excitement, awe and joy of the gathered crowd.

Castle Swim Series & Castle Run Series

Added to the line-up of triathlon events was the introduction of swim and run only events this year providing the opportunity for athletes to take on one or two of the triathlon disciplines  over the weekend.  The swim and run events proved a huge hit with competitors delighting in the stunning setting for their chosen races.

Race Director, Brian Adcock commented on the weekend saying, “We are delighted to see Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon go from strength to strength, with the largest ever field competing this year. We extended to two days last year and this year we added the Castle Run Series and Castle Swim Series events which proved to be hugely popular. The feedback to the event has been hugely positive, with the good weather adding to the great atmosphere and sense of achievement on the finish line there was a real festival feeling all weekend.  We are delighted to host an early season race in Galway, giving athletes the chance to blow off winter cobwebs and provide a memorable experience to those racing for the first time. We are grateful to the Triathlon community in Ireland who support the event and to the big contingent from the UK who travel each year on their bank holiday weekend. We look forward to returning to Lough Cutra Castle in 2019.”

Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon is the first of the six  Castle Triathlon Series weekend events across Ireland, France and the UK during summer 2018. Each Castle offers a high quality, competitive and atmospheric race set in beautiful grounds and truly spectacular surroundings, with 18,000 competitors set to take part in the Series this year.

Full results of all races at Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon 2018 available here.

For those looking to get in early for 2019 (25/26 May 2019), you can make use of a 30% discount by signing up online before 8Th June 2018.