Chris Mintern and Susanna Murphy have won the Super Series races at this year’s Vodafone Dublin City Triathlon.
While the rest of the city was still asleep at 8am on a Sunday morning, Ireland’s best triathletes were taking to the river Liffey for the fifth race in this year’s Super Series – which sees athletes compete in the same draft legal format as the Rio Olympics.
Conditions were perfect for the sprint distance race which entailed with a 750m swim in the River Liffey, a 20km bike around the grounds of the Phoenix Park and a fast 5km run, again in the park, before athletes sprinted to the finish line, beside the transition area in the Garda Boat Club.
Chris Mintern – the Irish national champion at Olympic distance – won the men’s race by 22secs over GB athlete Alastair Rogers. Roger’s fellow countryman Lewis Byram came home in third place 26secs later.
In the women’s race, Dubliner Susanna Murphy won her first domestic race of 2016 by 23secs over Carolyn Hayes. Third place was claimed by Mary Hodgson who like Rogers and Bryam in the men’s race, had travelled over to Dublin from Leeds to take on Ireland’s fittest triathletes.
Mintern Plays Clever
Corkman Chris Mintern played a tactically astute race. He emerged from the 750m swim in first place with Alastair Rogers on his heels but allowed Rogers to power ahead at the beginning of the 20km bike. Mintern soft pedalled until a pack of four other men made up a 15second gap and joined him for the remainder of the bike course.
Speaking after the race, Mintern said he knew this would give Rogers a lead on the bike but that he was confident he’d be able to catch up with fresher legs on the run.
“I was happy enough just to sit up on the bike because I saw there was a pack of guys just behind us and I knew there were some strong bikers in there. I wasn’t sure how far we’d get away on the bike and I knew I was running well so I was happy just to keep it controlled and not burn the legs on the bike.’
Rogers ended up completing the entire 20km on his own while a chasing pack of Mintern, Lewis Byram, Cillian Tierney and Aichlinn O’Reilly worked together and came in to T2 about one minute behind.
Once on the run, Mintern started overhauling Roger’s lead but didn’t actually draw level until the finish line was almost in sight.
“I knew going our on the run I was about a minute down and then at the turnaround I was 25secs down so I was thinking ‘I’ve enough time left’ but then when we got on to the last straight which is about 500m (from the finish) I was still behind him so I was thinking, ‘I’m running out of ground here’ so I just went for it and caught him just in time.”
Mintern crossed the finish line with a time of 1hr and 36secs. Rogers came home next in 1hr 58secs with junior British duathlon champion Lewis Byram in third on 1hr 1min 24secs.
Murphy Wins Solo
In the women’s race, Susanna Murphy led from start to finish, posting the quickest swim to carve out a narrow advantage over Amy Wolfe and Mary Hodgson, who came out of the water four seconds later. Murphy pressed on at the beginning the bike and ended up pulling away from Wolfe and Hodgson who were soon joined for the 20km bike by Carolyn Hayes.
Murphy never looked back and came home in a time of 1hr 7mins and 34secs. Carolyn Hayes posted the quickest run split of the day but it wasn’t enough to catch Murphy and she crossed the line in 1hr 7mins and 57secs. Teenager Mary Hodgson crossed the line to take third in 1hr 8mins and 51secs.
Speaking after the race, Susanna Murphy said she was delighted record a victory in her first domestic race of the season.
“The whole event is really exciting. I was worried that with an 08:40am start that nobody would come out to watch but there was actually really good crowds there.”
Murphy said she didn’t really have a strategy coming in to the race and simply went as hard as she could.
“On the swim I could feel people on my feet so I knew there were people right behind me. Coming out of transition I found I was on my own so I just kept going. In my head I just wanted to run fast, my run has definitely improved this season so I wasn’t too worried but you just don’t know what’s going to happen in these draft legal races. There were a pack of girls behind me and they could have caught up and that’s what’s do great about triathlon.”
Murphy had a difficult start to the 2016 season with an an injury plagued January followed by illness in the spring.
But she said she’s happy with how things have turned out: “Racing internationally has been a hell of a lot of fun, I’ve gotten loads of experience and the girls back home should really get out and race more internationally. But it was fantastic racing a top domestic race in my home town.”
Ireland’s Largest Club-Run Triathlon
Following the Super Series events, it was the turn of more than 1,000 athletes to take part in Ireland’s largest club-run race.
The men’s Olympic distance category was won by Piranha Triathlon Club’s Tom McEnery in 2hrs 5mins 223secs. Colm Turner finished 2nd just 22secs back while third place went to Richard Doyle in 2hrs 8mins 58secs.
Michelle Brennan of Athy Triathlon Club won the women’s race in 2hrs 29mins 37secs with second place going to Judy Van den Anker in 2hrs 32mins 33secs. Niamh Richardson came third in 3hrs 33mins 18secs.
Results and Pictures
Provisional for the Super Series and sprint distance races are available here, while results fro the Olympic distance men’s and women’s races are available here.
Interviews with the men’s and women’s winners of the Super Series events, plus a full of hundreds of images from the Olympic and Sprint distance races are available on the Triathlon Ireland facebook page.