Waterways triAthlone is the host of this year’s Kinetica National Olympic Distance Championships with some 2000 competitors expected to line up for the Olympic, Sprint, Try a Tri and Paralympic events.
The highlight of Saturday’s racing is set to be the Kinetica Olympic Distance National Championships which is raced over a 1500 meter swim in the river Shannon, 40km bike and 4 lap 10km run around the streets of Athlone. It is also the first ever running of a Paratriathlon National Championships which although has a small number of competitors is an important step in the development of triathlon.
The Olympic Distance event once again has a stacked field with Mark Nolan going in as pre race favourite. Nolan clinched the Sprint Distance crown back in May before picking up some quality results in Europe including 3rd at the Windsor Elite Triathlon.
Nolan will have plenty of competition from the likes of professional long distance triathlete and uber biker Bryan McCrystal, European Age Group Champion Matt Molloy, 2011 Vodafone National Series Champion Bjorn Ludick, super swimmer Stephen Early and Corks Trevor Woods.
The women’s side is equally competitive with the podium positions wide open. In the mix will be professional triathlete Amy Wolfe who has achieved two podium finishes and a top 10 in elite racing this season. Deirdre Casey is also one to watch. Casey’s form this season is a little unknown as she is based in Dubai however the 2011 25-29yrs World Age Group Champion cannot be discounted.
While racing at the head of the field will be a serious affair, the majority of competitors over the weekend will be more concerned with beating the clock or just completing their first triathlon.
Conor Eannetta of Omagh Triathlon Club has been competing in triathlons since 1994. “My best is around 2hr 20mins but training hasn’t gone so well this year. I did 2hr 42minutes in Athy a few weeks ago so I’m looking to better that time. I know I’m never going to be near the top of the field but I enjoy the competition with my club mates and the atmosphere around races.”
Racing can be followed at @tri_ireland from 3pm with the final wave of competitors off at 6:10pm.