Sports

Sean wins first triathlon of season

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Sean wins first triathlon of season thumbnailSEAN Featherstone had a storming bike ride to blow away the opposition in the first triathlon of the year.

SEAN Featherstone got his triathlon season off to a sizzling start and indeed on current form he is the number one triathlete in the nation.

Well perhaps that's a slight exaggeration - but nonetheless he's top of the leader-board after winning Newtownabbey's Stena Triathlon, the first triple-distance event of the year.

But since hanging up his goal-keeping gloves a few years ago, the former Mayobridge Championship winner, has been competing in triathlons (and cycling) and doing brilliantly too.

Sean, a member of the Newry Triathlon Club, had a nasty accident last year in the Ras, an International bike race, but has come back fitter and stronger than ever.

And he proved it by winning the sprint distance race at Newtownabbey, covering the 750-metres swim, the 22-kilometre bike ride and the five kilometre run in the super-quick time of 1.07.22. His splits were: 12.09 (swim), 36.30 (bike) and 17.03 (run). Sean, holder of the local 10-mile time trial record with a scorching 19 plus minutes, was a little behind the leaders coming out of the Newtownabbey Swimming Pool but powered into the lead with a storming bike ride that was almost one and a half minutes quicker than the best of the rest. And he had a solid run to take the tape.

Speaking to the Democrat, Sean modestly said: "I was surprised to win - and it was nice to get round in one piece. It was a change for me to overtake, rather than being overtaken."

Yet Sean wasn't the only member of the Newry Tri Club to make the podium, as Finbar McGrady also had a brilliant race to take the runners-up spot, finishing just 13 seconds behind his clubmate. It's a rarity in recent years to have two members of the local club taking a one-two, so it was a day to remember. Finbar also won the first veteran's prize.

But McGrady, a doctor by profession, who last year won a European silver medal in Lisburn, Portugal, and was a winner at both Blackrock's Crack the Rock sprint triathlon and the Warrenpoint to Omeath swim, is another who is set to take the triathlon world by storm.

Finbar had a great race at Newtownabbey, clocking 1.07.35 overall, with splits of 11.41 (swim), 37.57 (bike) and 16.22 (run).

Another veteran and Newry Tri Club member Henry O'Neill too had an excellent outing too and made the top ten with a time of 1.14.57, in the process posting splits of 13.12, 39.21 and 20.08.

Others who travelled to the Stena event and who did well were David O'Prey (1.23.04) with splits of 14.28, 44.28 and 21.32 and his brother-in law Joseph Belton who clocked 1.26.08, with splits of 13.39, 47.54 and 21.54.

Joseph's father Jim, the father of triathlon in Newry, also did extremely well and finished in 2.28.31 with splits of 24.13, 69.27 and 48.07.

Finally Fiona O'Neill completed the race but took a wrong turn on the bike and was thus unfortunately disqualified. Fiona, wife of Henry, was going well too, swimming 18.24 and running 25.38.

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