Laura Daly in the Standard Distance Irish National Championship Triathlon

Laura Daly was competing in the Standard Distance Irish National Championship Triathlon over in Kilkee and she wasn’t there just to make up the numbers

A recent spate of triathletes showing up at training and consequently signing up as members has dramatically bolstered the squad at Bournemouth AC. It’s a move that benefits both parties really as it allows them to improve their running ability with a structured interval schedule and it means they can compete the club in road races and league competition.

One of the biggest revelations to have followed that path has been Laura Daly. She’s usually one of the faster women in ranks on the Tuesday night sessions and has been progressing well since first emerging on the scene. Laura’s training consists of quite an evenly distributed mix of running, cycling and swimming and she is fairly strong in each discipline, which is very helpful in triathlon competition.

Her abilities have brought her plenty of success in major triathlon events. In June she won the Bristol Standard Distance Triathlon race which consisted of a 1.5km swim, 35km on the bike and a 10km run. She managed all that in 1 hour 59 minutes which put her in 16th place overall and saw her come in as 1st female, three-and-a-half minutes ahead of her nearest lady competitor. Swimming is in fact, probably Laura’s strongest suit and she was 4th fastest in the whole field in that in 22:27.

That was really just a warm up for what was to come though as, at the beginning of July Laura was lining up for the Hell of the West Olympic Distance Triathlon held at Kilkee in Ireland. The event played host to the Irish Standard Distance National Championships, so the stakes were extremely high for Laura. Taking on the very best that Ireland has to offer, she knew she would need to be at her peak to compete for top honours.

Laura Daly heads across the beach after completing her swim

Laura comes out of the water after her swim and heads across the sand

The event began with a 1500m swim in the supposedly calm waters of Kilkee’s Horseshoe Bay. Then it was a 44km cycle against the forceful winds of West Clare before ending proceedings with a hilly 10km run along the rugged coastline of Loop Head.

The swim turned out to be much shorter than it was supposed to be, which didn’t really play into Laura’s hands. It was complete chaos and unlike anything she’d ever experienced before. Getting in and out the water in 13 minutes 10 seconds, there were only three women who could better that time. Emma O’Brien, was the quickest of them, completing the route in 11:50.

Laura sets off on her run in the Irish National Championship Standard Distance Triathlon

Laura sets off on her run which was the final showdown

The bike section was super tough, with the headwind blowing so hard it felt like cycling into a wall. Laura dug in as best she could though and got through it in just over 1 hour 20 minutes. That made her sixth fastest female in the race. Then it was onto the run, which ended up being slightly over 10k.

It was mostly uphill for the first 2.7 miles but then after that it was more downhill for the remainder of race. Laura ran really well, recording a 6:29, a 6:28 and a 5:59 for her last three mile splits before upping the anti even further to 5:48 pace for the last quarter of a mile. That culminated in her completing the run in 42:12, a time that could only be bettered by three other women.

Laura on her run in the Hell of the West Triathlon

Laura built up a good pace on her way round the 10k route

That put Laura’s finishing time at 2 hours 17 minutes and 42 seconds which saw her placed as 4th female out of 126 starters. In the overall standings, she was 46th out of 439 and she was 1st in the 25-29 category.

Laura heads past the wonderful clifftop backdrop

Laura heads past the stunning clifftop backdrop

Although it was a shame to just miss out on a podium place, it was still a fantastic result for Laura and being 4th best in the Irish National Championships is an achievement to be very proud of. She was pleased with the performance she put in and rightfully so. She gave it her all and that’s all anyone can ask in any given race.

Laura blasts down the road in the run section

Laura was determined to put all she had left into the run

The win in the women’s race went to Emma O’Brien after she recorded the fastest swim and the fastest run, completing her run in 39:35. She was third quickest lady on the bike as well and finished up with a time of 2:11:44. That put her in 23rd place overall. After recording the second fastest swim and the quickest bike ride, Deirdre Casey was 2nd female and 33rd overall in 2:14:22.

Laura in action at the Hell of the West Triathlon in Kilkee, Ireland

It was a terrific overall performance from Laura

Hilary Hughes was 2nd quickest on both the bike and the run but her swim let her down a bit. She still managed 3rd place though which was a great result. The quickest man overall was Ralf Bodamer who completed the race in 1:54:53, giving him an advantage of over three minutes on his nearest rival. He was quickest out of anyone in the swim by close to a minute and he was a second off being the fastest on the bike as well. That accolade went to Dave Higgins who finished 2nd overall in a time of 1:58:14.

If Laura keeps training the way she does and working as hard as she currently is, there will no doubt be plenty more successes for her to look forward to in future triathlons. Hopefully she’ll also be able to take part in some of the road race fixtures as well as it would be great to see her out there, doing the club proud, just as she did in this triathlon.