Irish Olympic triathlete Aileen Reid ends her season ranked eighth in the world after finishing a superb second at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in London last Saturday.
After finishing 43rd at last year’s London Olympics, Reid came back with a bang this year. She started her season with a 3rd in the Oceania Sprint Triathlon Championships back in February and, in her eleven races since then, has never dropped lower than 17th place. In August, she finished 2nd at a sprint race in Hungary and then 9th in the Stockholm World Series round.
In London, Reid made a powerful start in the 1500m swim, coming out of the water in 10th place behind the leader Emma Moffatt of Australia. That gave her a place in the lead pack for the 40km cycle, where the slippery conditions and tight turns took their toll. Determined not to fall – as she had done twice before on this course – Reid cycled “like a granny” and survived.
She set off on the 10km run in 16th position, with 21 women still in contention for the title. By the end of the first lap, Reid was with a group of six that included Great Britain’s Non Stanford, who soon began to dominate up front. Despite a 15 second time penalty for a transition infringement, Standford still came home first in 2:01:32. In the battle for second place, Reid timed her push to perfection, crossing the line in 2:01:57.
In the men’s elite race a day later, Bryan Keane finished 27th in 1:50.36, and produced the fastest cycle leg of the day. Winner was Spain’s Javier Gomez in 1:48.17, with Jonathon Brownlee of Great Britain a second behind for second.
Earlier in the week, the Irish junior and U23 elites has been in action. In the junior women’s race, Emma Sharkey finished 13th in 59 mins 13 secs with a good swim and cycle. Aaron O’Brien was 20th in the junior men’s race in 53 minutes exactly, with Christopher Mintern 67th in 58.58. In the men’s U23 event, Russell White held his own in the swim and cycle and finished 35th in 1:48.58.
Four Irish paratriathletes made their international debut, with Michael Delaney, a former Para-cyclist finishing 9th in the Tri 6b visually impaired category guided by Matt Coughlan. In the same category, Belgium-based Nicolas Dewalque finished 15th. In the T4 upper arm impairment category, Denton Howard was 26th and Mark Phillips 35th.
Top results in the age groups came from Matt Molloy 4th 4-44 years age group, Kevin Thornton 10th 25-29 yrs , Marie Triona Keane 15th 30-34 yrs and Jennifer O’Connell 18th 35-39 yrs. A record total of 266 Irish age group triathletes were in action.
Full reports and results at www.triathlonireland.com