Sports

Big five conquer Mullingar Ironman

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Big five conquer Mullingar Ironman thumbnailBOOTSY Fearon - "I followed a dream and that dream came true."

FIVE triathletes from the Newry area recently enrolled in the rapidly expanding local Ironman Club.

At Mullingar the quintet of Colm 'Bootsy ' Fearon, Seamus McNally, Vincent McMath and the Lundy brothers David and Phelim all completed the vast distances of 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking and a full marathon run of 26.2 miles in the Celtic Warrior race, that started from the Lilliput Adventure Centre in Mullingar.

All five, encouraged by a sizable support team, competed the monster distances for the first time and were well worth their finishers' medals.

The incomparable Bootsy Fearon spoke to the Democrat of the event, saying: "I followed a dream and that dream came true.

The Celtic Warrior Challenge was in aid of Autism and was superbly organised with plenty of food and water stations with the hospitality second to none.

"But after the hilly bike ride in wind and rain I was in bits, feeling depressed and questioning whether I could finish the race. I actually phoned home to my wife Deirbhle who told me to pull out if I was feeling that bad.

"But then I thought: if I pull out now I'll have to go back and do it again next year. So I continued and found the run ok." Bootsy also told the Democrat that he was deeply indebted to his friend Greg 'Bolt' Preece and three ladies, Amanda McVerry, Emma Kennedy and Karen Carlisle who all completed the half marathon, set up camp, and looked after him while Greg ran 10k with him, despite never having run before.

Anyway Bootsy was the last Ironman finisher with a time of 19.49.47 and his splits were: 2.06.26 (swim), 10.56.05 (bike) and 6.47.15 (run). Incidentally the swim and bike splits included transition.

By contrast Newtownhamilton man Vincent McMath was a superb second in the event, with a sizzling time of 12 hours 22 minutes and 16 seconds. His splits were 1.56.30, 7.04.48 and 3.20.57. He had an amazing race but his marathon time was simply unbelievable, running close to 7.30 pace over 26 miles - and that after nine hours of competition!

The event began with the swim in the beautiful surroundings of Lough Ennell near Mullingar, County Westmeath, the bike route was a six-loop course on open roads taking in villages in Westmeath while the marathon was an eight-loop route on forest roads around the Lilliput Adventure Centre.

Vincent was the fastest of the local five with Seamus McNally next. Although quite a behind the Newtownhamilton speedster, the Camlough man clocked an excellent 17 hours 27 minutes and 51 seconds. His splits were: 1.48.29, 8.48.24 and 6.50.57.

One second adrift was Newry man Davy Lundy who ran the whole marathon with Seamus - and he posted up another fine time of 17.27.52 with splits of 1.55.01, 8.41.53 and 6.50.57.

While David's brother Phelim made it a family affair and the Lundy's now join the M a l l o n's and McCourt's as brothers who have completed Ironman events. Phelim clocked 17.50.33 with splits of 1.55.04, 8.41.53 and 7.13.35.

And finally there was Bootsy with his 19.49.47.

The Celtic Challenge was not only an Ironman race but also included various other distances, including an Ironman Swim, a half-Ironman event and a 3-Day half-Ironman event.

There were quite a few others who competed in Mullingar with Gareth Kelly doing extremely well at the half-Ironman race.

The Crossmaglen man blitzed the course but at the end he was a little disappointed not to duck under the magic five hours, a time seen as a yardstick for top triathletes.

Nonetheless Gareth recorded a first class 5.01.12 with splits of 38.29, 2.41.21 and 1.39.20.

Also representing Newry and surrounding areas were Gary McCourt and Judith Campbell, the latter who swam four-kilometres on the Friday evening, biked the half Ironman route on Saturday and ran the half-marathon on Sunday. Judith did the marathon swim in 1.40 and was the only one not to wear a wet-suit, she biked 4.05 and ran 3.20 while Gary swam 42 minutes (1.9k), biked 3.30 and ran 2.10.

Incidentally Judith is appealing for sponsors for her mammoth swim the length of Loch Lomond to aid Cancer Research UK in late August. Along with seven others in an International team from England, Ireland Scotland and Wales, she hopes to participate in the 80-kilometres distance as a member of a relay team, each swimmer in the water for an hour at a time. It is estimated the swim will take about 30 hours.

Back to Mullingar: John Mallon did the Ironman swim on the Friday night and spent the rest of the weekend helping others in the water while the Bessbrook Flier Kevin Hillen also was a great support act, riding the whole of the 112 mile bike route with the lads.

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