A thousand triathletes will take part in the Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon this Sunday.
Race organisers pride themselves in making this a genuine festival of triathlons with races to suit everyone, from top national and international performers to first-timers and children.
The normally-private Lough Cutra Castle estate is open to everyone to come along and enjoy the day. Adding to the atmosphere will be a piper in the battlements and live music afterwards in the castle yard.
It is the first in the 2014 Castle Triathlon Series, which also includes races at English and French venues.
The international competition between Irish and UK teams is attracting some attention. The Irish team is captained by Amy Wolfe, with Mark Nolan and Aaron O’Brien providing some serious quality. For GB, last year’s winner, David Bishop, returns to defend his title, backed up by Chris Hines and Catherine Jameson.
Three junior races will cater for children from eight to 15 years and four adult races cover everything from super sprint right up to the new gauntlet middle distance race (half iron distance). The Olympic distance is a National Series race and a qualification race for the ETU European Triathlon Championships and ITU World Triathlon Championships 2015 and boasts a stellar field.
A separate women-only start within the super sprint triathlon is an option for those who wants to avoid the hustle of the swim start.
The swims for each of the triathlons are in the beautiful castle lake and the run is around the glorious grounds. The junior cycle routes are also inside the estate, while the gauntlet cycle route will be around The Burren.
Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon is a Triathlon Ireland sanctioned event. Entries are still being accepted and to take part see www.loughcutratri.ie. Triathlon Ireland members can register on the day.