Triathlon racing returned to the rivers and roads of Kilkenny this past weekend, bringing with it the most glorious of conditions, writes Trevor Spillane.
Safety, sunshine and social distancing – all three elements were in abundance as triathlon made a sizzling return to Kilkenny on Sunday.
The long-awaited comeback of the multisport event was hailed as a success as Kilkenny Triathlon Club hosted their popular race in the Marble City.
Having seen the 2020 season wiped out through the Covid-19 pandemic, Kilkenny Triathlon Club were one of the first in the country to host a race in the 2021 calendar, albeit with some changes.
One of the first races to be held under Triathlon Ireland sanctions this year, the welfare of the competitors was key. The number of participants was capped at lower levels than in the past, while a new transition area and run route helped the club to maintain social distancing among athletes and allow the general public space to enjoy the amenities of the Castle Park uninterrupted.
Triathlon can be a tough sport and Sunday’s event -where people took on a 750m swim, 20km cycle and a 5km run – was made even more challenging by the high temperature which saw the city swelter.
It made for a harder race but, despite the heat, all who came to Kilkenny agreed on one thing – it was good to be back.
The conditions did little to hamper Darren Dunne.
The Nenagh Triathlon Club member steamed his way through the swim, set a blistering pace on Kilkenny’s roads for the bike section and scorched through the 5k run in the Castle Park to take first place, earning the handmade Jerpoint Glass trophy and a cash prize.
The prestigious H Cup, which is awarded to the top junior, went to Charlotte Moore, who was the first female across the line. In what was a real family affair her twin sister Olivia took the final podium spot when coming home as the third female finisher.