22 Aug ’18: Race Report - Ironman 70.3 Ireland

Ironman 70.3 Dun Laoghaire

Sunday, 19 August 2018
Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
By Michael Row 
TIME: 5:34:11
POSITION: 6th ,50-54


The event is centred in Dun Laoghaire, an attractive harbour town about 20 mins from Dublin City by train.   It was formerly the port for ferries to the UK, but now is effectively a yacht marina.  But it’s a beautiful spot with views right around Dublin bay.  And there’s a decent range of coffee bars, restaurants and, of course, pubs in the town itself.  Registration takes place in the new library, a dramatic piece of modern architecture that isn’t universally popular.  From here, the transition and the start are about 10 mins walk.  

The swim takes place in Scotsman Bay, normally a relatively sheltered bay (less so last Sunday).  You run into the water from a standing start on a small sandy bay.  They allow 4 athletes to go every six seconds.  In comparison to other races, the spacing seemed generous.  The swim route is very straightforward, a long straight section followed by a 90 degree turn towards land and then another to head towards a floating pontoon which is the landing point. Helpers there to assist those struggling to get up on the pontoon.  A short run to T1 and away on the bikes.

So the bike course.  It’s hilly.  But there’s a gentle start with a slight incline out until the village of Enniskerry.  There’s a sharp climb then before it’s rolling terrain into the village of Roundwood.  The climbing gets tougher at this point, with a fairly intimidating climb up to the viewpoint over Lough Tay. Then some descending, flattish terrain and a few technical turns as the course winds its way through the Wicklow mountains. On a clear day, this is a beautiful route (was a bit misty for sightseeing on Sunday).  There’s a very sharp turn as you head  towards Johnnie Foxes pub (claimed to be the highest pub in Ireland).  This is where the route departed from the original plan so in 2019 it may be different (and with more elevation).  Once past the pub, its a nice descent pretty much all the way back to Dun Laoghaire, so I was able to average over 40km/h on the last 25 km or so.  It’s not easy, but I was happy that I chose to take my TT rather than my road bike, which tells you something.  And the hills are pretty well spread out so there’s a decent amount of recovery time between hills.

Onto the run.  Very straightforward, three laps, not completely flat, but fairly modest inclines.  Great level of support throughout, but particularly on the run.  And unlike the Spaniards (at least those in Callela) they don’t only cheer the home team!

The Athletes village was a bit small and crowded; after event food and drinks nothing special, but adequate. Awards ceremony was in the National Yacht Club, which apart from being too small and too hot was a nice spot to wrap up the day. 

I really enjoyed and will most probably do it again next year.  Disclaimer: this is my home town so I can’t claim to be completely impartial!

Michael Rowe