Entries still available

The Gauntlet half iron distance triathlon at Lough Cutra Castle, Gort, Co. Galway has been a success since it was introduced two years ago. Numbers have doubled each year and are now at more than 400. An impressive 1500 triathletes in total are expected on the day. The event has been selected by Triathlon Ireland as a Vodafone National Series event which adds to its appeal. It’s also the Castle where Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall stayed during their visit to Ireland last year.

The swim is in the castle lake, the cycle is around the lunar landscape of The Burren and the run is around the castle grounds and woodland. The winner of the men’s race in 2015 was Kevin Thornton from Galway Tri Club with Siobhan Gallagher (Donegal) winning the women’s race.

Last year’s Olympic distance winner Kitty Perle from Dublin has moved up to The Gauntlet for 2016. Many competitors like George Anderson from Oxford are using The Gauntlet as part of their training for the Bastion at Hever Castle or another full iron distance triathlon.

For others The Gauntlet is an achievement in itself and it is their first race of this length. Veteran competitor John Joe Higgins from Tuam is 68 years young and returning for yet another Gauntlet. There’s a huge local entry and big numbers coming from the rest of Ireland and the UK.

The event is one of 8 different triathlons taking place at Lough Cutra Castle on Sunday 29th May. Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon is part of the Castle Triathlon Series which includes events in three castles in England plus one in France.

So many different triathlons mean there is an option for everyone, whatever their fitness level or age. The Starter Tri is aimed at adult newcomers who have never done a triathlon before and although all triathlons are challenging, it is well within the compass of anyone who has done some training. The distances are 200m swim, 13km cycle and 2km run. The Sprint Triathlon (Viscount Gough) involves a 400m swim, 20km cycle and 4km run. The next distance up is The Prendergast which at 800m swim, 40km cycle and 8km run is a perfect step building triathletes towards the Standard or Olympic distance triathlon (The Lough Cutra – 1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run).

Three children’s triathlons are specifically designed for different age groups – 8-10 year olds, 11-12 year olds and 13-15 year olds, each with swim, cycle an run distances to suit. All elements of the children’s triathlons stay safely within the Castle estate and are suitable for children who just want to give triathlon a go as well as those who are in a tri club.

All triathlons finish right in front of the fairytale castle. On the lawns nearby are the stands, music, dancing and children’s entertainment. There is a spectator charge of €5 per adult and €3 per child. Local partners include Gotta Run specialist running store in Oranmore, Sasta Cafe and Coole Football Club. The charity partner is ISPCC. Competitors are asked to make donations to ISPCC Childline on registration or via www.mycharity.ie.

Entries can still be made online at www.loughcutratri.ie.