Lough Key Tri Club’s Dympna Kelly secured a battling 11th place finish and fastest Irish female competitor overall at the European Age Group Triathlon Championships held in the stunningly scenic Austrian mountain town of Kitzbuhel on Saturday last.
The Championships, held annually, consist of qualifiers from all over Europe who have won or placed highly in their own National Age Group competitions.
Triathlon Ireland sent a team of 22 to Kitzbuhel across all the different categories and a field of 32 set off at 7.45am on Saturday morning in warm calm conditions on Lake Schwarzee for the 1.5km swim in the 35-39 Age Group.
Kelly exited the water in 25mins 10 secs holding 14th place in a packed exit. A quick transition brought her to her favoured bike leg where she set a blistering pace over the very tough route which consisted of 3 x 13 km loops with a steep 2km climb and tricky descent on each.
A strong climber by nature she moved up through the field and with the 8th fastest bike time was comfortably in the top 10 coming off the bike and on to the 10km run.
The temperature had risen up into the 20s by the time the athletes hit the run route and the heat began to tell. 14th fastest again over the run leg it pushed Kelly just back outside the top 10 again into 11th crossing the finish line in a total of 2 hours 38 minutes 30 seconds.
Margins were so tight in the race that eight seconds faster at any point over the race would have seen her jump from 11th up to 8th on the day.
Also taking part in the same category was Boyle native Emer Sandham O'Connor who currently lives in Wales. A consistently solid race brought her home in 20th place on the day in 2 hours 45 minutes.
Para athlete Tojo Lazarri from Lough Key continued his run in European competitions with a 9th place finish in the PTS4 in dreadful conditions in Kitzbuhel. Torrential rain during the race made conditions very tricky especially on the bike.
The Para athletes took on the sprint distance for the event and Lazarri came home in a very good 1 hr 17 mins 16 seconds.
The previous week, Lough Key's Andrew Brennan represented Ireland at the European Half Ironman Distance event in Herning, Denmark.
Again, poor weather hampered athletes over the weekend of the event. Brennan recorded a 5 hours 20 mins for the 1.9km swim, 90 km bike and 21km run to finish 58th in a large field of competitors from across Europe.
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