IN THE BEGINNING
Planning for the first TriAthy started in Summer 2006 when Athy was identified as the ideal town to host a major Irish triathlon. The scenic backdrop of the River Barrow, coupled with the intimate surroundings of Athy's Emily Square made an Athy triathlon a possible, desirable and achieveable prospect. By Christmas 2006, intention turned into action when Belpark Triathlon Club (DUBLIN) and Trilogy Triathlon Club (PORTLAOISE) came together to become the co-organisers of Athy's first triathlon.
THE FIRST TRIATHY - 2 JUNE 2007
And so it began... A four strong organising team was in place by now and local buy-in was secured with the blessing of the local authority's - Athy Town Council and Kildare County Council - to proceed with this pioneering venture! Online Registrations opened on 21 January 2007 and the initial hope was that the race would attract up to 300 entrants. By close of registrations in early May 2007, 740 entrants has signed up for our event making TriAthy one of the largest Triathlon's ever staged in Ireland - a magnificent feat by any standard.
The organising team had four months of intense preparation in advance of the event and worked closely in cooperation with our 2007 title sponsors TEGRAL, local residents, the Garda Siochana, the Defence Forces, the Civil Defence, the local authority, the IWAI, Waterways Ireland, the Athy GAA Club, the Athy Rugby Club, the Athy Rowing Club, the Athy Chamber of Commerce and many others to ensure a successful inaugural 2007 event. 2007 was also a fitting year to start TriAthy in that it was desigated as THE YEAR OF THE BARROW - a celebration of the river's wonderful amenity value. The inaugural TriAthy incorporated the LEINSTER TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS 2007 - a recognition of the quality of the event and another significant vote of confidence in the organising team. The first TriAthy was staged on Saturday 2nd June 2007. Despite the difficult weather conditions, the event proved an enormous success for competitors and for the proud Heritage Town of Athy, Co. Kildare.
TRIATHY II - 31 MAY 2008 - Irish National Championships
Registrations for TriAthy 2008 went live on New Year's Day and the popularity of the race was evident from the off as we saw the vast majority of our 2007 entrants return for a second go at Ireland's Fastest Triathlon! The quality of the race was also recognised by Triathlon Ireland (the National Governing Body) in that TriAthy II was designated as the Irish Standard Distance National Championships 2008 - a massive endorsement for the event. By close of registrations, 1,400 people had signed up to compete in the OLYMPIC and SPRINT races.TriAthy had doubled in size!
TriAthy II will long be remembered as an absolute scorcher - and indeed could be regarded as the only hot day in Ireland during the dreary summer of 2008. Temperatures were in the high 20's and many onthe day were seen frantically applying high factor sun-cream in advance of their starting wave.
The heat was so intense that many cooled off by a return to the River Barrow for a quick dip after completing their race! TriAthy II welcomed a new and enthusiastic title sponsor: The Dooley Group. Gabriel Dooley (an Athy native) proved to be a fantastic advocate for TriAthy. As the owner of the White Castle he also opened up the grounds of the castle as a recovery zone and prize giving ceremony post race... an idea which worked extremely well!! Once more TriAthy proved a brilliant showcase for the sport. With the support of so many, including an ever-understanding and supportive local community base, the TriAthy success story continued into 2009.
TRIATHY III - 30 MAY 2009
The third TriAthy event took place on one of the few beautiful Bank Holiday weekends of 2009. Athy looked resplendent in the mid-summer sunshine thanks to the terrific input by the local Tidy Towns committee and Athy Town Council to clean up the riverbank and prepare for the influx of over 7,000 visitors. To cater for the huge popularity and demand for the event, TriAthy separated the Olympic and Sprint distance races which were run concurrently in previous years. The Olympic race took place in the morning and following an efficient turnaround the Sprint race took place in the afternoon and early eventing. This meant that the event had a capacity of 2,500 which was easily met four weeks before raceday - a new record for the largest triathlon in Ireland.
Given its placing in the early part of the season, TriAthy continued to attract first-time triathletes (or newbies as they're affectionately called). Among the newbies was Irish Times Athletics Correspondent Ian O'Riordan who having endured the 'battle of the barrow' and the leg tingling sensations of transition summarised his first triathlon experience as follows:
By the time we ran back along the riverbank into the finish, the Hawaiian-like sunshine still beating down and the deep exhaustion of it all briefly giving way to deep satisfaction, all any of us was capable of was two thoughts; our first beer, and our next triathlon.
TRIATHY IV - 5 & 6 JUNE 2010
The fourth TriAthy saw the enlargement of the race to a two day affair in 2010 owing to the continued popularity of the event. A big focus of the 2010 race was on improved race quality which saw the creation of a TriAthy Charter for the first time. Wave sizes were reduced and extra attention was placed on raceday safety. The largest change was to the swim course, as the race started on the western side of the River Barrow for the first time and a specially constructed swim exit pontoon was put in place to assist competitors with exiting the water.
Once again the elements were particularly kind as three of the four TriAthy race sessions basked in the mid summer sunshine. The Mens Sprint race almost escaped, but endured some light rain at the start... good job the guys were getting wet anyway!!
TRIATHY V - 4 & 5 JUNE 2011
The fifth annual event was slightly shorter than 2011 for logistical reasons, but the impact was every bit as good.
For the first time in Ireland, a DOUBLE OLYMPIC event was introduced at TriAthy, and a new 40km bike circuit was introduced which brought the cyclists beyond the traditional course towards Kilkea Castle and Castledermott. This added more technical turns to the event, but by all accounts it was favorably received by the entrants. The extra course area also meant that bunching and illegal drafting as less of an issue.
Once again, the weather-Gods were with the event Organisers, as Athy looked resplendent in the summer sunshine.
The sixth TriAthy event will take place on 2nd & 3rd June 2012.