Ireland’s Olympic triathletes will take part in their final home-soil warm up for the Rio Games in Derry this weekend.
Aileen Reid and Bryan Keane will put their pace to the test in the firmus energy City of Derry Triathlon on Sunday morning as part of their countdown to the 2016 Olympics.
The duo have opted to use the technical Category One draft-legal sprint race as a stepping stone to the summer games. It will be their final race together in Ireland ahead of Rio 2016.
Both triathletes have returned to Ireland from high altitude Olympic training camps to take part in the North West Triathlon Club’s annual showpiece which takes in the fast flowing River Foyle and spans the city’s three bridges.
Keane announced last week that he intends to use the race as “great training opportunity”. Determined to get in on the action, Derry native Reid has decided to join her teammate following her 17th place finish in the Leeds World Triathlon Series Race last weekend.
Reid, who holds the distinction of being the only Irish triathlete to ever make it to an ITU World Series podium, has been making steady improvements following a winter training programme which was disrupted by illness for lengthy spells.
City of Derry Triathlon is one of the best races I’ve ever been involved with and one that is obviously very close to my heart.Aileen Reid
And Ireland’s highest ranked elite triathlete is looking forward to enjoying the support of her home town as she steps up the training intensity for Rio.
Reid, who was first female in the 2014 firmus energy City of Derry Triathlon, said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to take part in my home town race once again. When I heard Bryan was coming I decided right away that he wasn’t going to have the fantastic support of the people of Derry all to himself.
“City of Derry Triathlon is one of the best races I’ve ever been involved with and one that is obviously very close to my heart. It’s wonderful race with a fantastic atmosphere and I’m sure the people of Derry will once again come out in force to cheer us all on.”
Keane jumped at the chance to take part in the Derry race having “heard all about it” from his Rio Olympics teammate. “She advised me that if I ever got a chance to take part, I should take it as it was one of the best races and courses in Ireland. With such a recommendation, I was determined to take on the challenge at the first opportunity.
“Being away from home for nine months and competing all over the world, I’m delighted to get a race on home soil in 2016 and it’s something I’m really looking forward to. Some years it hasn’t been possible to race at home but what makes it all the sweeter is that I’ve my place booked at the Rio Olympics. It’s fantastic to be able to share this with the triathlon community ahead of the games.”
Race Director Paul McGilloway said: “We are delighted to welcome Bryan and Aileen to the firmus energy City of Derry Triathlon. To host two of the world’s best triathletes is a terrific coup for North West Triathlon Club and, more importantly, for the many triathletes who will get the chance to compete alongside their heroes.
“This is a fantastic one-off opportunity for people to see both of our Olympic triathletes in action in Ireland ahead of Rio and I’m sure our home crowd will give them a tremendous Derry welcome.”
The firmus energy City of Derry Triathlon Ireland Category One (elite) male race starts at 8.05am on Sunday at Derry Quay. The Category One female race starts at 8.15am. The Triathlon Ireland National Series ‘age group’ race waves begin at 6.55 am. Category One finishers are expected from 8.55am along Derry Quay.
The race is a sprint which comprises a 750m open water swim in the River Foyle followed by a 20km closed road cycle culminating in a 5km flat run that takes in key attractions around the city including the iconic Peace Bridge
The North West Triathlon Club/firmus energy City of Derry Triathlon was first hosted as the City of Culture Triathlon in 2013 and has been held each year since.