The Lost Sheep is special. Anyone who has cycled the route on a sunny day will testify to that. The views, if you have a chance to take them in, are spectacular and the host town, Kenmare, is a regular training venue for triathletes from all over Ireland. It’s special on a wet and windy day too, but in a different way!
This year, Cork Triathlon Club’s The Lost Sheep will also be the Triathlon Ireland National Middle Distance Championships and as a result some of the best triathletes in Ireland will be lining up on Saturday morning, 17th September.
The 1.9km swim in scenic Kenmare Bay starts and finishes from the pier in Kenmare. The 83km cycle takes in three climbs, the first en route to Lauragh and this is closely followed by the Healy pass, a category one climb. It then passes through Adrigole and returns towards Kenmare via Glengarriff and the final category one climb, the Caha pass. The route is far from flat and is challenging to say the least. On returning to Kenmare, competitors then have to complete a 21Km run on a course that could be described as ‘undulating’, along quiet back roads. Crossing the line in Kenmare is an achievement.
The competition will be fierce. In the men’s field, Owen Cummins, fresh from his third place finish in Galway Ironman 70.3 will be leading the charge. However, there will be stiff opposition in the form of Kevin Keane, Mark Nolan, Aodh O’Neill and Mike Yelverton, all podium finishers in national series races this summer. Also in the mix are Wayne Reid, Colm Turner, Rory Maguire, Shane Scadding and Cork Tri Club’s own Eric Wolfe, Philip King and Michael Buckley. Getting into the top 10 will not be easy.
In the women’s field, defending Lost Sheep winner, pro-triathlete and Irish female Ironman record holder, Joyce Wolfe will be back to defend her title should she manage to overcome a shoulder injury in time. Aoife Lynch and Jennifer Duffy will continue their national series rivalry and there will also no doubt be challenges from Vanessa Fenton, Siobhan Duggan, Derval Devaney and Katie Cooke.
The Lost Sheep 2011 is shaping up to be a most intriguing contest indeed.
Photo by Dorothy Grimes.