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Champions Mintern and Foley Win the firmus energy City of Derry Triathlon

Champions Mintern and Foley Win

Sunday saw the return of the ever-popular firmus energy City of Derry Triathlon. With heavy rain from early in the morning, 340 competitors took to the River Foyle to complete a 750m swim in open water, 20km closed road cycle and a 5km flat run which takes in key attractions around the City including the Peace Bridge.

Mintern Takes the Title

Chris Mintern has won the 2017 Sprint Distance National Championships 2017 with an exciting tactical performance.

Mintern, the Standard Distance Champion in 2016, swam clear from the rest of the field on the feet of British athlete Alastair Rogers and the pair never looked back as they worked successfully in the draft legal Super Series race to out-race a chasing pack with superior numbers.

How the Race Unfolded

The men entered the water at just after 9:45am at the firmus energy City of Derry triathlon. British athlete Alastair Rogers moved quickly to the front of the 32 man field. Cork athlete Chris Mintern was quickly on to his feet and was able to benefit from Rogers’ draft, something the remainder of the men’s field were unable to replicate.

Midway through the swim a gap opened and the leading duo emerged in 9mins 52secs - more than 30secs ahead of the next quickest swimmer, Kieran Jackson.

Tactical Racing

On the 20km draft legal bike leg, Mintern and Rogers co-operated well to extend their lead by a further 30secs with the chasing duo of Con Doherty and Darren Dunne unable to win back any time as Jackson and Walton dropped back to a larger group that included Aichlinn O’Reilly, Richard Horton and Derry’s rising star Odhran McKane.

Mintern and Rogers arrived in to T2 with a comfortable lead and even in the early stages of the run it became clear that the day was to belong to the Mintern as his superior run pace began to distance him from Rogers before the pair crossed the iconic peace bridge.

Rogers Runner Up, Con Doherty Third

Mintern covered the (slightly short) 5km in 14mins 44secs - the third quickest run split of the entire field and fast enough for him to win his first Sprint Distance National title by 31secs over Rogers. Con Doherty came home in third place 17secs later.

Mintern - already the title reigning holder at Standard Distance from 2016, said he was delighted with how he managed his performance:

“It was a tough race, I know Alastair was a very strong swimmer so I tried my best to stay with him. When we got out of the swim we knew there was a gap so we said we’d work together and it worked out really well, we had a good gap by the time we got on to the run. We were flat out on the bike for 20km - it was hard but we knew we had to put the work in because we knew the faster runners were coming.”

Heather Foley Wins Sprint Distance National Champs

Heather Foley took the women’s title in the national sprint championships whilst winning on the day.

Foley moved her way through the field during the 20km bike and the 5km run to win her second national title of 2017, following her victory at the Duathlon National Championships in March.

Ailbhe Carroll finished in second place, while third went to Laura Wylie, who edged out Siobhan Gallagher in a sprint finish.

How the Race Unfolded

There was little to separate the leaders of the women’s field during the 750m swim in which they encountered a strong current from the turning tide on the Foyle estuary, which made the ability to follow a swim draft a very useful advantage.

Jemma Speers was first out of the water, posting 11mins 51secs. With her, and on the same time, was junior athlete Erin McConnell, with Laura Wylie, Ailbhe Carroll, Aoife Fay and Siobhan Gallagher a handful of seconds back.

Kirsten Huysamen lead the next pack out of the water on 12mins 14secs along with 19-year-old Niamh Corry and Elizabeth Carr; with Foley emerging in 10th place, 32secs off the lead.

On the bike Foley put in what is now a characteristically strong performance as she moved up to join Wylie and Gallagher as they chased the leaders. But it was Ailbhe Carroll who posted the quickest bike split of the day, as she managed to break clear of Speers to arrive in to T2 leading the race.


Carroll ran a strong 17min 45sec 5km but her effort was not sufficient to stay ahead of Foley, who went a full minute quicker to win in 1hr 7mins 49scs.

Carroll crossed the line 19secs later in 2nd, while behind her, the fast finishing Laura Wylie out-sprinted Siobhan Gallagher to claim third place by a single second.

Heather Foley, who now holds the National Middle Distance title from 2016 along with the Duathlon National title, said afterwards that she went in to the race focusing on her performance rather than the result:

“I’m really delighted, its a hard course. I never really expected (to win) its just when I saw there was a couple of them ahead I had to put my head down and go.”

More than 200 athletes raced the non-drafting event at City of Derry. James Hoare won the men's race, with Gavin Corey in 2nd and James Cleland 3rd.

In the women's non-drafting race, Maeve McMaher-Williams finished in 1st place, followed by Jessica Bruton 2nd and Esther Bayon in 3rd.

Derry native, Aileen Reid was on hand to present the prizes along with Paul Stanfield from firmus energy and Deputy Mayor John Boyle.

Firmus Energy supplies thousands of customers in the north-west with the benefits of natural gas such as the constant supply of hot water – perfect for an endless number of showers or baths after a family day filled with sports and fun! To see if you can connect and enjoy the convenience of natural gas visit or call 0800 032 4567.


The race report is an adaptation of the official Triathlon Ireland race reports.

For further information, please contact Johnny Stewart at Weber Shandwick.

T +44 (0) 2890 347 301   
M +44 (0) 7785 458 136


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