Junior Beast of the East Report & Results
Saturday October 3rd saw Wicklow Triathlon Club Juniors host their first ever open entry Triathlon Ireland sanctioned triathlon event in Wicklow Town. The race was based in the ideal surroundings of Wicklow Town, Wicklow Harbour and the scenic Murrough, a 15km long coastal wetland extending north from Wicklow Harbour and the event featured no less than four race waves catering for ages 8-9,10-11, 12-13 and 14-15 year old athletes.
Knowing just how positive triathlon is for our own members, Wicklow Tri Club approached IPB Insurance to see would they help to support a race which we would like to promote right across the local community. IPB believed that the race and our mission was a good fit with their Corporate Social Engagement Framework and so the Junior Beast of the East Triathlon was born. The Junior Beast of the East was not only going to be a competitive junior triathlon held under the sporting code of Triathlon Ireland but a carnival of sport to encourage families to engage with each other in a fun and healthy competition.
We know our audience well and not wanting younger siblings to feel left out Wicklow Tri Club organised a charity splash and dash event for all kids up to the age of 7 to benefit the very worthy Wicklow Hospice Foundation.
The racing was to kick-off with the splash and dash so as soon as all the young competitors were registered and dressed for action they were given a final 12:00 noon briefing by the start line. The nervous tension exploded into a virtual melee as athletes scrambled through the chilly waters of Wicklow Harbour. The competition was fierce with more than one athlete adopting an involuntary dolphin-dive technique in the race for the final turn buoy.
Once out on dry land the disadvantage of short legs was less of an issue as some of the pint-sized athletes opened up their stride. One or two had clearly suffered a bit of early fatigue, possibly just psychological but those up front with razor sharp focus single mindedly charged on towards the finish arch a full 185 metres from the water. The applause was almost frightening but only spurred the athletes on as our own junior member Thea Sterritt dipped for the line galvanising a very strong race. Well done Thea!
Proceedings for the main event were already under way as the Splash and Dash concluded and the first wave of triathlets marched to the water’s edge. Such were the number of entries, no less than 26 in total that these athletes were released in two deep water starts for safety. Both of these time compensated groups demonstrated superb skill as they swam the slightly shortened 85metres to the exit buoy. A monster swim by Noah Harris saw him streak ahead of his competitors and he was very rapidly out of the water.
Not hanging around the rest of the field followed promptly before leaving T1 on their bikes. The bike route for this race took the athletes along the promenade and back into transition where marshals were on hand to assist exit onto the run route. A slight mix-up saw Molly Sheehy sprint around what she understood to be a very short run course only to see competitors vanish into the distance. Not phased she kept her head down, adjusted her strategy and even saved some pace for a sprint finish. The older race competitors were treated to a superb display that only served to raise the adrenaline levels even further!
The second race for 10-11’s featured many of our own junior athletes but visitors form other tri clubs too, namely Pulse Tri and Fingal Tri among the 20 starters. This was to be a corker of a race with no quarter given by any of the competitors. The numbers entered in this race were so big again that they were split into two waves, the results being time corrected to compensate. From the very off it was clear that honours were at stake as the front of the pack streaked away.
Steely determination on the faces of the athletes who all seemingly oblivious to the cold as they exited the water grappling at wetsuit zippers on the run into T1. The frantic pace continued as the cycle course on this wave opened out onto the cycle path of the Wicklow Port access road. This was a challenge to all with both gradient and a bit of head-wind so local knowledge was likely a bonus. The pace of the cycle split was very respectable and all seemed great until Wicklow Tri Club’s Lily Sheehy crashed badly on the approach to transition. This had all the appearance of an early exit for Lily but probably a result of shock and comforting by Dad, one of the transition marshals Lily had made her mind up, the race was back on.
The visitors to the event were all the while putting on a fine demonstration of strength and technique but not without challenge from Wicklow Tri’s own. A margin of only two seconds separated Niklus Moelders and Finn Harris in the nail-biting finish of the boy’s race. Eva Sterrett, perhaps inspired by her sisters finish earlier stomped home to a strong win over the quite badly cut and bruised Lily Sheehy and 2015 novice Hannah McKeever a very respectable third.
The athletes in race three were bigger in size and equally as determined as previous waves with the super strong swimmer Emma Kristiansen demonstrating how it should be done. The pace of these athletes was impressive for all under 13’s and that was just in the swim. Through transition and out onto the bike course it was clear how strong the field was with Charlie Pearse, Conor Fulham, Sean Lundy and Garret Keogh all keen to make good progress ahead of the run. Careful marshaling was required at the end of the bike course such was the speed of this race. The run course made great use of the scenic Murrough which stretches out North from the transition area.
Careful pacing was always going to be key in this race with finish line pictures suggesting that none of the athletes left anything out on the course. Charlie Pearse who did so well in his first Aquathon this Summer again demonstrated his authority by trouncing the field and Emma Kristaiansen likewise almost three minutes clear of her next contender.
The final race for 14 – 15 year olds was briefed soon after the third race start and these guys were not long getting going in the water. This was the smallest race wave of the day but the distances were going to be more of a challenge than previous. The swim was an out and back course across the flat calm Wicklow Harbour totalling 400m but not a significant challenge to these athletes. The bike course took the field to the far end of the port road cycle path and back meaning that competitors had two climbing and two descending sections so strategy would be key to a fast bike split. The three kilometer run was the longest run course of the day but hardly a challenge to any of the competitors, all of whom were super well prepared for the event. Boy’s honours went to David McMahon ahead of Patrick Keogh with Ciara Shott the only lady in this wave.
What an amazing day of racing! Post race hospitality was courtesy of the Leitrim Lounge in Wicklow who also hosted the registrations and kindly provided all competitors with a cooked lunch and soup to fend off the cold. Prizes for each age category were kindly sponsored by The Sports Room in Wicklow, Cycle Super Store and Triathlon Specialist store Base2Race. We were honoured on the day with no less than two superstar triathletes to present medals and prizes. Kevin Thornton, middle distance Triathlon specialist and third in Dublin’s first 70.3 race and Con Doherty, European Junior bronze medallist and current Irish sprint distance triathlon champion were vocal in their support of the athletes and generous with their time, big respect to you both guys!
From all the race committee in the Wicklow Tri Juniors we sincerely thank all of our athletes, their families, our sponsors and especially our marshals , all 60+ members of Wicklow Tri Club who made the day possible. We’re also very grateful to Alan Rowlette who has posted all of his images on his photo gallery on facebook. Follow this link to view: Alan Rowlette Photography
Well done all!
We also hear that the Junior Beast of the East might just want to come back in 2016. Watch this space!
Age 8 – 9
|8||12:26||Ellie Marshall Baugh||314|
Age 10 – 11
|14||22:42||Jacob O’ Sheehan||316|
Age 12 – 13
Age 14 – 15