Aileen Reid’s 5th place finish in the World Triathlon Series Grand Final was one of the highlights of the weekend in Edmonton, Canada as 6 elite triathletes and 24 age groupers represented Ireland in the Grand Final and World Championships.
A lacklustre 1500 meter swim by Aileen’s standards may well of cost her a second successive Grand Final medal as she was forced to do the chasing over the 43km bike and 10km run.
Reid started the run in the chase pack alongside seven-time World Series race winner, Gwen Jorgenson of the USA, almost 1 minute down on the lead pack of 18 athletes.
After the first of four 2.5km laps it looked as through Aileen would finish well back, however as the laps ticked off Aileen increased her pace and began to make a charge through the field.
Jorgenson would go on to win her 5th World Series race of the season and claim the World Title thanks to the fastest run of the day in 33:24 from the chase pack. Reid overhauled all but 3 of the 18 athletes who started out ahead of her, to finish 5th in a time of 2:01:21. The 879 point haul from her Grand Final result saw her jump seven places up the rankings, equalling her 2013 finish of 8th in the world.
The elite men’s race saw Bryan Keane, Conor Murphy and Ben Shaw lining up alongside 69 of the top ranked triathletes in the world. With the World Title still up for grabs going into the eighth and final round of the World Triathlon Series, the pace was hot from the start.
Conor Murphy emerged for the 1500 meter swim in under 18 minutes with Bryan Keane in close contention just 3 seconds back. Ben Shaw, one of the top swimmers in the sport was ill in the run up to the race and it showed as he struggled at the back of the pack and was eventually forced to retire.
Murphy, who was also ill in the days before the race struggled during the bike and run and had to settle for a 54th place finish, well off what the Armagh man is capable of.
“I felt weak today at the World Championships. I have been sick this week and just wasn’t fully recovered for the race.”
Once on the bike, former professional cyclist Keane was motoring and was instrumental in bridging the gap to the lead pack with 5km of the 43km bike course remaining. A 25 second transition from the bike to run saw Keane start the run in 35th position, however as each lap passed he picked off athlete after athlete to finish 28th at the biggest race of the year.
The final standings in the 2014 World Triathlon Series sees Bryan Keane finish best of the Irish in 38th, Ben Shaw 56th and Conor Murphy 67th.
Banbridge native Russell White was philosophical about his performance in the U23 World Championships where he finished a very respectable 18th.
“I’m happy with that, it’s a true reflection of where I am at the moment. There is more to come but it’s better than 35th last year.”
White posted a super 17:40 1500 meter swim split as he exited the water in 8th place. The former competitive swimmer, who only took up triathlon 4 years ago wasn’t fazed by the twisting bike course either and clocked 33:47 for the 10km run to end his season on a high.
msj_1774 Credit: Janos Schmidt/ITU Media
Caption: Bryan Keane pushes the pace at the front of the chase pack.