The inaugural Tri the
Lough Sprint Triathlon was organised by Omagh Tri Club
at the fantastic venue of The Lough at Loughmacrory last
Saturday. For an event in its first year it attracted a
top quality field including former Irish Ironman record
holders Trevor Woods and Liam Dolan.
As well as many well established triathletes who are no
strangers to podium finishes including Desi Mc Henry,
Eamon Hill, Ann Paul, Joanne Bingham, Alistair Bratten,
Frankie Dunlop, Tony Mc Nulty and Heather Bamford to
name but a few!
After a fairly wet morning the weather suddenly cleared
just in time for the 11 O'Clock start. As the athletes
took to the water they were cheered on by the large
crowd of spectators who had turned out to show their
support! As they headed for the first turn buoy a number
of athletes had already broken away from the main field
and were establishing a fairly healthy lead. First to
exit the water was Patrick Mc Kenna in a blistering time
of 9.56 but hot on his heels were Trevor Woods and Conor
Mc Kenna who kept themselves in contention as they
headed through transition and onto the bike leg!
Meanwhile in the ladies race a battle was commencing for
the podium places Emma Bamford and Fiona Murphy lead the
ladies out of the water.
As the bike commenced the athletes had to face a fairly
demanding circuit that proved to be quite slippery after
all the recent rain meaning that extra care was required
on this tight and testing circuit. The huge advantage
was that the two lap circuit was completed on fully
closed roads much of which had recently been re-surfaced
which made for some very fast stretches. Trevor Woods
blasted round the course to have the fastest bike split
of the day and build for himself an unassailable lead
heading into the run. Liam Dolan and Eamon Hill had very
fast bike splits also and were moving ominously up
through the field. Emma Bamford was working hard on the
bike and managed to make it onto the run as leading
female. But Ann Paul was having a fast bike and had
closed the gap that Emma had built up from the swim.
the athletes started the run as a contest the mens race
was over as Trevor Woods had built up a significant lead
and was now enjoying being out in front on the two lap
run around the lough. Things were very different in the
female race as Ann Paul now entering her stronger
discipline was quickly closing the gap on Emma Bamford.
As the race reached its conclusion Trevor Woods crossed
the line in first a comfortable winner on the day
followed by Patrick Mc Kenna in second and Edward
Brennan in third. Despite fast runs from Eamon Hill and
Liam Dolan they just failed to make it to the podium but
both men are better known for their exploits over the
longer distances and picked up age group prizes on the
In the female race Ann Paul managed to close the gap on
Emma and take victory on the day. Joanne Bingham well
known for her running strength worked her way though the
field to fill the third place on the podium.
Overall the race went very well and all athletes
returned safely. They were then treated to some
traditional music and fantastic food provided by the
ladies of Loughmacrory GAC. Omagh Tri Club would like to
take this opportunity to thank all their partners in the
organisation of this event including St. Teresa's GAC,
Loughmacrory Community Development Association and
Loughmacrory and Murrins Fishing Club.
We thank all the athletes for choosing to participate in
our race and look forward to welcoming them and their
friends back next year!
By Chris Caldwell
THE first ever ‘Tri the Lough’ sprint distance triathlon
to be held in Loughmacrory proved to be an emphatic
success on Saturday as over 150 competitors took part in
a superbly organised event.
And the outcome of the race could not have worked out
any better for the organisers as Omagh native, Trevor
Woods, took the overall victory, with Mountfield’s Noel
Collins the first local athlete home.
The weather may not have played ball all day, with
several showers of rain, but that failed to dampen the
enthusiasm of the large crowd of spectators and
competitors who all thoroughly enjoyed the day.
There were several well-known names among the large
field of competitors, who came from all over Ireland to
take part, with former Armagh GAA captain and BBC GAA
Football pundit, Jarlath Burns, Conor Muprhy MLA, and
Irish triathlon legend, 64-year-old Desmond McHenry, all
Councillor Declan McAleer, who is the chairman of the
Loughmacrory Community Development Association, was
thrilled with the way the day went: “This is a wonderful
event,” he beamed.
“It’s the culmination of a lot of work between a number
of organisations, particularly the local [Loughmacrory]
GAA club, the Omagh Triathlon Club and the Loughmacrory
Community Development Association.
“So this is wonderful, it’s a first for a gaelic
football club anywhere in the country to help arrange a
triathlon and the people of Loughmacrory can feel proud
because it’s brought a lot of people out, getting people
in good spirits.
“There’s been a massive interest in this event, and
there are athletes from all over the country, as far
away as Cork, who have come to participate.
“They exceeded the number of entries and had to turn
people away, so I’m confident that the roaring success
of today should make this a permanent fixture in the
The overall race winner, Cork’s Trevor Woods, who was
born in the Omagh area, spoke of his pride in being the
first ever winner of the Tri the Lough triathlon upon
crossing the finish line almost two minutes ahead of
second placed Patrick McKenna.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to be the first winner
of this event,” he beamed. “This is my home town, I was
born in Omagh, I haven’t been here for 15 years, so it’s
great to come back and I will savour my victory here.
“It’s a good event, it’s a big bonus having closed
roads, it makes it so much safer, so it’s a good course,
it’s great. I think this should be a National Series
race ultimately because of that safety aspect and as you
can see by the numbers today it’s obviously popular
already and will certainly grow.”
Mountfield’s Noel Collins, who was the first local
athlete to complete the course in just over one hour and
eight minutes to finish in seventh overall, was also
delighted with his achievement, while Desmond McHenry,
who has completed over 300 triathlons in 29 years, was
full or praise for the organisers.
“It’s a very well organised event, to have closed roads
is a luxury. The way it’s been organised today there is
no reason why it shouldn’t grow,” he commented.
One of the main organisers of the event, Omagh Triathlon
Club’s Peter Skeffington, who was in charge of the bike
course on the day, was thrilled with the positive
feedback from those taking part.
“I’m delighted to hear that the competitors have been
positive in their feedback because there has been a lot
of hard work put in to this,” he said.
“The weather wasn’t good, but there’s nothing you can do
about that. Everything went about 95 per cent right, but
there are always little things you can improve on, you
can’t get it 100 per cent in your first year.
“The facilities here in Loughmacrory are second to none
and to have everything on one site is superb. It’s been
brilliant and I’m very pleased with how everything’s
The race got off to a spectacular start with all of the
competitors plunging into the lake to start their 750
metre swim. Patrick McKenna was the first to emerge in a
time of nine minutes and 56 seconds, closely followed by
Woods and Connor McKenna.
However, following the bike race section, Woods had
built up a sizeable lead of over two minutes over P
McKenna, and he completed the 5K run in 18 minutes and
57 seconds to complete the race in one hour, two minutes
and five seconds, to finish one minute and 55 seconds
ahead of P McKenna, who was one minute and 31 seconds
ahead of third-placed Edward Brennan.
The ladies race was won by Anne Paul, who finished in
one hour, 14 minutes and 45 seconds, almost four minutes
ahead of Emma Banford, in second, and third-placed
Collins, in seventh overall, was the first local athlete
home, in one hour, eight minutes and 48 seconds, just 13
seconds ahead of Pete Neill, with Shane McGale the third
Omagh athlete across the finish line in one hour, 11
minutes and 37 seconds.
Top 40 results
1, Trevor Woods, 1.02.05; 2, Patrick McKenna, 1.04.00;
3, Edward Brennan, 1.05.31; 4, Liam Dolan, 1.06.55; 5,
Eamon Hill, 1.07.36; 6, Adam Speer, 1.08.15; 7, Noel
Collins, 1.08.48; 8, Pete Neill, 1.09.01; 9, Mark Daffy,
1.10.55; 10, Gary O’Donnell, 1.10.59; 11, Daniel
Quigley, 1.11.19; 12, Tony McNulty, 1.11.21; 13, Shane
McGale, 1.11.37; 14, Conor McKenna, 1.11.57; 15, Anthony
McDonald, 1.12.03; 16, Philip McDonald, 1.12.51; 17,
Peter Jones, 1.12.53; 18, Alistair Bratten, 1.13.18; 19,
Chris McGuigan, 1.13.23; 20, Frank Dunlop, 1.13.28; 21,
Peter Morrison, 1.13.55; 22, Joe McConnellogue, 1.14.08;
23, Glen Pollock, 1.14.27; 24, Paul McDonald, 1.14.44;
25, Anne Paul, 1.14.45; 26, Niall McEnhill, 1.15.03; 27,
James Beattie, 1.15.21; 28, Desmond McHenry, 1.15.29;
29, Edward O’Reilly, 1.15.29; 30, Team Spartans,
1.15.50; 31, Eamon Doherty, 1.16.28; 32, Eamon Harkin,
1.17.16; 33, Paul Skelly, 1.17.39; 34, Lorcan Healy,
1.17.51; 35, Seanie Meyler, 1.17.58; 36, Colin McCartan,
1.18.32; 37, Emma Bamford, 1.18.37; 38, Paddy Heaney,
1.18.52; 39, Ronan Walsh, 1.19.01; 40, Aidan Borchers,