Picture this: you have just completed a 1.9k swim in the scenic Kenmare Bay. 30k into an 83k bike and you are faced with the small matter of climbing the Healy Pass. You leave the rugged beauty of Kerry behind as you descend along the technical pass into the far reaches of west cork. You know you still have another category 1 climb before returning to Kenmare to complete the race with a challenging 21k run on terrain that is anything but flat. That is why the Lost Sheep is such a fantastic race. It is hard. And yet people come back year after year for more. It is Cork Triathlon Club’s flagship race and although the bike is technically shorter than most middle distance bike courses, what it lacks in distance it makes up for in difficulty. At no point is the bike course flat. It is a loop punctuated by three climbs, the first being the climb between Kenmare and Lauragh, which serves as a warm up to the other two larger ascents, the Healy Pass and finally the Caha Pass. It may also be the most scenic bike course in the country and have the most sheep spectators hence its name. On returning to Kenmare, the 21k run is equally trying. It heads out from the pier on country roads that could be described as undulating to say the least and finishes in the heart of bustling Kenmare town.
This year Cork Triathlon Club is delighted to have the Lost Sheep as a National Series race and as per usual the race has attracted a stellar field. Battling it out to be crowned male and female champion including some of the strongest Irish triathletes currently competing.
In the women’s field, defending champion Aileen Flynn (Piranha Tri club) returns to try and retain her title. Having already qualified for Kona at IM UK, the Lost Sheep will serve as a warm up race in the countdown to the IM World Championships. However, there are some other quality female triathletes in her way, namely Kim Hickey (Pulse Tri club), Maire-Triona Keane (swim/cycle/run and CTC), Marie Boland and Tamara Maxantova (B2R). It is sure to be an interesting fight to the finish.
For the men, Cork Triathlon clubs legendary triathlete Trevor Woods has had to pull out of the race due to injury. Kevin Thornton must go into this race as favourite having finished third pro in the recent Dublin 70.3 as well as being the current Triathlon Ireland Middle Distance champion. Charles Maltha will return to Kenmare to try and defend his 2014 title and uber biker Bryan McCrystal is back again having won this race in 2013. Other notable names include last year’s second place male, Mariusz Olenjniczak (Naas tri club), Mark Nolan, Bernard McCullagh (GoTri Racing), Owen Martin (Setanta Tri club), Noel Kavanagh (Wicklow Tri club) and Timmy Barry (Cork Tri Club).
This year’s field is its usual high standard and with a course as fair and tough as the Lost Sheep, there is no place to hide. Whoever crosses the line first, rightly deserves taking their place on the top podium step.
A big thanks to our 2015 Lost Sheep Sponsors, without whom this race would not be possible: The Edge Sports Shop, Jam Bakery, Udos Choice, Fyffes, Squeezy Sports Nutrition, Vita Coco, Life Proof, Amphibia, Erdinger Weissbrau, Lidl, Whytes Centra, Flahavans and Sports Food Ireland