Tuesday, 17 June 2014
JOHN Mallon is the localities' newest Ironman. Without saying a word to anyone, the Newry triathlete, known to most people as Scottie, recently set off for the Tri Limits Ironman in Dungannon.
John who was born in Glasgow, educated in Armagh but who now lives in Bessbrook, only decided the day before the event to take on the enormous challenge.
He told the Democrat: "I thoroughly enjoyed the race. It was the best event I have ever done and I hope more people take up the Ironman challenge."
The Tri Limits Ironman took place on the same day as the Crooked Lake race but whereas the weather in Camlough was fine, in Dungannon the rain poured down all day, only ceasing at 7pm, midway through the marathon run. John began his heroic feat at 6am and continued until near darkness.
And unlike most Ironman races, where there are crowds all along the course cheering on the athletes, Dungannon, by comparison was a lonely event, with few spectators braving the inclement weather to support the competitors.
John, a teacher by profession, began by swimming four laps of Eskagh lake (2.4 miles) then it was six laps of an undulating bike course (112 miles) before ending with a mind-numbing 12 laps to complete the 26.2 miles running.
His time of 15.37.35 was a tremendous one for the modest Scot and he deserves the utmost credit for his amazing achievement - not least because in October last year he had surgery on his hip, that greatly curtails his big love, running.
Oh incidentally John was 14th overall in the race and surely this is the best position that any local triathlete ever achieved in an Ironman event. Again: well done John. You're a star.
Meanwhile also in Dungannon on the same day as the Ironman race, there were several other events and indeed four triathletes from the Newry area completed the tough Tri Limits Half Ironman race of 1.2 miles swimming, 56 miles biking and 13.1 miles running. The four: PJ O'Neill, Paul Watters, Paul Gorman and James McNally.
PJ was the fastest of this group with a nippy 5 hours 21 minutes, that included splits of 34.56 (swimming), 2.50.56 (cycling) and 1.48.47 (running) while Paul was the second local finisher in 5.59.47 with splits of 35.10 - 3.15.33 and 1.58.18.
Paul clocked 6.15.00 with splits of 35.21 - 3.22.09 and 2.08.41 with James finishing in 7.14.13 and he had splits of 45.46 - 3.40.58 and 2.38.50.
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