The annual Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon event took place on the weekend of May 26th and 27th.

Once again, a large contingent from the Blackwater Triathlon Club travelled to Gort in Co Galway to take part in some of the 22 races that took place over the course of the weekend.

These range from the Half Ironman distance Gauntlet with a 1900 Metre swim, a 96 km cycle and a 21 km run, to a race for 8-10 year olds with a 100km swim, a 4km cycle and an 800 metre run, with a huge variety of relay and solo options in between.

In total The Blackwater Triathlon Club had 18 members racing at the weekend, with some of them doing multiple events. This year there were also three swimming only events added to the calendar, a mile swim, a 2.5km swim and a 5km swim.

There was something there for every level of triathlete, whether absolute beginner or grizzled veteran and it’s an ideal opportunity for Triathlon stars of today and the future to compete.

It’s also a weekend that is targeted very much at families, with onsite camping and races for parents and children.

The weekend began with the sprint, super sprint and relay sprint races. Mick Beston and Bill McAuliffe, along with nearly 200 other athletes, took part in the sprint distance race, which consisted of a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run. Conditions were pleasant, albeit a little breezy.

The swim was fine with water temperatures in the lake around 16 degrees with a well-marked route, although a few complained that the swim exit wasn’t marked with a brightly coloured buoy.

The bike course for the most part was on well surfaced roads with a few drags and a few technical downhill sections.

Mick finished in 1:25:39 with Bill coming home in 1:29:39. Mark Ryan was our sole competitor in the Sprint Plus distance race. This consisted of an 800 metre swim, a 40km cycle and an 8km run. Mark finished in a time of 2:38:05, 27th overall and 2nd in his age group.

Blackwater Triathlon Club had two competitors in ‘The Gauntlet’, a middle-distance race, consisting of a challenging 1.9km swim, 96km bike ride and 21km run. 170 athletes in total took part and Deidre Morrisson was home in a time of 6:04:13, with Aidan Fitzgerald finishing in 6:33:57.


345 athletes took part in the Olympic distance race, including no fewer than eleven members of the BTC. This consisted of a 1500 metre swim, a 40km cycle and a 10km run and Shane Collins was the first of the BTC crew home, crossing the finishing line in 2:33:37. Martin Feeney, taking part in his first ever triathlon, finished in 2:41:53, followed by Brian Baker and Dave Bartley in 2:45:37 and 2:49:14 respectively.

Gina Lyons and Ashleigh Byrne were the next two home, with just 4 seconds between them! Gina took the bragging rights this time, crossing the line in 3:03:48 with Ashleigh just behind in 3:03:52. Ann Lyons, Niamh Fleming and Ciara MacCallum finished in 3:09:43, 3:16:58 and 3:18:09 respectively. Karen McNamara finished in 3:26:25 with Julian Boeg coming home in 3:56:49.

Julian and Niamh had also completed the 2.5km lake swim on Saturday, along with another BTC member, Mary Collins. Some people are just gluttons for punishment. Julian swam the 2.5 km course in a very impressive 47:57, with Niamh finishing in 1:06:53 and Mary in 1:20:32.

Conditions on Saturday were very choppy and the buoys were not always as visible as the swimmers would have liked, resulting in longer swims for everyone.


The MacCallum and Boeg families weren’t finished there though, with the next generation of Blackwater triathletes competing in the children’s events. Julian’s daughter Alice completed the 13-15 yrs race, finishing the 300 metre swim, 8 kilometre cycle and 2,400 metre run in 46:46, 15 minutes faster than her time last year. That was an amazing improvement for Alice.

Ciara’s daughter Orla completed the 100 metre swim, 4 km cycle and 800 metre run in the 8-10 years race in 38:31. She really enjoyed the race and apparently the triathlon bug has bitten her hard.

All the more impressive was the fact that Orla stopped to assist another athlete who had an accident on the course and waited until an adult arrived. Well done to her, she’s a credit to her parents and the club.

The children’s events were held entirely on the castle grounds and were very well organised, with loads of kayaks, swimmers and boards in the water to ensure the safety of the competitors. All in all, it was a very good weekend for the club.

The whole event was extremely well organised and very family friendly with bouncy castles, a band, loads of catering and merchandise. Definitely one for next year’s calendar.


Having recovered from his successful Ice Mile exploits in February, Blackwater Triathlon Club member, Frank Hallissey, took on some more swimming challenges last weekend as he attended the Hit the Wall open water training camp in Carlingford Lough.

Over the course of a gruelling weekend, Frank and the other participants took part in 6 swims; one night swim, one race, a channel qualifier and three ‘dips’. Frank and his fellow swimmers also took part in a firewalk, 4 yoga sessions and some sessions concentrating on goal setting and achievement.

These sessions were interspersed with the occasional ice bath, just to keep them honest.

The main event was the battle of Carlingford Lough on Saturday. This was a 7.5km race from Omeath to Carlingford Village.

Conditions on the day were pretty bad, with a 2m swell and wind going against an ebbing tide. Frank described it as probably the worst conditions that he’d ever swum in.

The entire group was blown asunder and times were around 30 minutes down on last year. Frank finished in 2 hours 21 minutes, 50th out of 235 starters.

Despite his experiences on Saturday, Frank decided to round things off on Sunday with another ‘dip’, this time a 4 hour, 12 kilometre, channel qualifier swim.

Fortunately, conditions were better on Sunday and the organisers changed the route during the swim to allow for wind and tide variations.

All in all, Frank had an amazing weekend and he would recommend the experience to anyone thinking of upping their distance in the open water.


The annual John Hartnett 10k race took place in Ballyhooly on the evening of Friday, May 25. John Hartnett was born in 1950 and was first introduced to the world of athletics as a young man in Ballyhooly.

Within a few short years he had gained a scholarship to the world-renowned Villanova University, home of many of the world’s top middle distance runners. He represented Ireland in the Munich Olympics in 1972 and during the 70s he went on to break many Irish records. He currently holds the world record for the fastest mile ever ran on grass.

In honour of his exploits a 10k race is run every year in Ballyhooly. The man himself was even on hand to present the prizes this year.

This year two members of The Blackwater Triathlon Club took part in the race along with 103 others. Bernard Kiernan finished in 50:56 and Conor McCarthy, for whom last year’s race was his first ever 10k race, crossed the line in 1:09:15, over 4 minutes faster than his time last year. It was a beautiful evening for a race as the athletes set off, warm and sunny.

Despite its reputation as a generally flat race the few hills on the route certainly helped the competitors to break a good sweat. Well done to both Bernard and Conor and everyone else who took part on the day.

Congratulations also to the organisers, for once again organising a very well run and friendly event, and to the spectators who helped cheer the competitors on their way.


Over the past few years Blackwater Triathlon Club’s James Slowey has found more extreme events to take part in. He has competed in Ironman races in sub-zero conditions in Norway and up and down mountains in the Pyrenees. This year he and two of his friends have decided to take on The Tour Divide in America in June.

The Tour Divide is an annual mountain biking race traversing the length of the Rocky Mountains, from Canada to the Mexican border. Following the 2,745-mile (4,418 km) Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, it is an ultra-distance cycling race that is an extreme test of endurance, self-reliance and mental toughness.

The race format is strictly self-supported, and it is not a stage race – the clock runs continuously from the start until riders cross the finish line, more than two weeks later.

The race has a very low profile, and is entirely amateur. There are no entry fees, no sponsorship, and no prizes. Although “letters of intent” from likely starters are encouraged, any rider may turn up on the day to participate.

Challenges along the route include mountains, great distances between resupply towns, risk of mechanical failure or injury, bears, poor weather, snowfall, and significant unrideable sections that require pushing the bike.

Riders usually adopt a ‘bikepacking’ style, carrying minimal equipment sufficient for camping or bivouacking, and only enough food and water to last until the next town.

In this way, riders ride huge distances each day, the current race record averaging over 174 miles (280 km) per day.

James and his crew will be setting off this Friday, June 8 and we will be following their progress over the following 25 days or so as they attempt to complete this challenging race. We wish James and all the other competitors good luck in their endeavours.


Sunday, August 12 is a big day for both the Blackwater Triathlon Club and Fermoy. 10 years after the inaugural Edge Sports Blackwater Triathlon, the club is delighted to announce the addition of an Olympic distance event to our race program.

For 10 years our annual Sprint triathlon has been going from strength to strength. The sport of triathlon is growing in popularity every day and the demand for races is growing apace. As more people take up the sport they are keen to push themselves further with longer races.

While Cork is home to many sprint distance races, up until now the county has only hosted one Olympic, or standard, distance race each year, the Jailbreak Triathlon in Cobh, which is already full.

Taking into account this dearth of Olympic distance, events the committee decided to look at the possibility of holding a longer race this year. There were huge challenges to overcome to facilitate a longer race, while at the same time ensuring that our sprint and Try-a-tri races wouldn’t be adversely affected.

Last year we had two events taking place on the day, a sprint triathlon comprised of a 750m swim, 20km cycle and a 6km run and a try-a-tri event with a 250m downstream swim followed by a 20km cycle and a 6km run. Between the two events we had nearly 300 competitors competing on the day.

This year we will be running the sprint and Try-a-tri races as usual and adding the new race and are hoping for over 400 athletes to take part. The Olympic distance race will consist of a 1500 metre swim, followed by a 40km cycle and a 10km run.

Fermoy is uniquely situated to hold an event such as this. The town is based in the heart of Munster with excellent road links and of course we also have the River Blackwater, which is ideal for the swim.

In order to facilitate the extra numbers and the longer duration of the race, we have, in conjunction with the Fermoy Town Council and Gardaí, made the decision to move the race from its usual Saturday afternoon slot to a new Sunday morning start.

While it will mean a very early start for the Triathlon Club members who are organising the event and for the athletes taking part, it will also ensure that the town of Fermoy itself suffers the least possible amount of disruption.

The race will be over by lunchtime and the competitors and their families and supporters will be able to relax and enjoy the hospitality of Fermoy for the afternoon.

Once again we will be relying on the good will of the people of Fermoy and hopefully they will come out in large numbers to support the athletes during the race. Entry to the races is available via the Triathlon Ireland website. For further information please check out the Blackwater triathlon Club website.


We welcome new members at any time. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to take part in triathlons. While for some people it’s about the competition, for others it’s just about taking part and having fun. It’s also a great way to meet people with similar interests and abilities.

So, if you’re feeling like a new challenge for 2018 contact us and before you know it you’ll be able to call yourself a triathlete. More advice and information on triathlons is freely available from your local club.

For further information see our club website ( or contact Stephen Dalton at 087-2448682.