All roads lead to Downings this weekend for the most talked about event on the 2018 Triathlon Ireland race Calendar.
The inaugural Sheephaven Half, hosted by Letterkenny 24/7 Triathlon Club, takes place on Saturday 30th June.
This is the first middle distance event to be held in Donegal and race director Aidan Callaghan promises competitors they will not be left disappointed.
Speaking at the official launch of the event Aidan said: “A lot of hard work has happened behind the scenes over the past 12months to get this race up and running.
“It has always been a dream of mine to bring a half ironman event to my own county and I am delighted to have been able to do so along with my own club Letterkenny 24/7. We are putting the finishing touches to the plans now and we are eagerly awaiting race day.”
Event sponsor Barry Connor of Downings Bay Hotel was also in attendance and is delighted to come on board to support the race. “We are thrilled to be involved in such a big event and are delighted that Downings has been chosen for the half race location. We look forward to welcoming competitors and supporters from Donegal and afar.”
Interest for the event well exceeded expectations, so much so in fact the race sold out almost 4 months in advance and the club have been inundated with pleas for additional entries. For the 250 competitors, coming from all corners the country, that have been lucky enough to secure a spot on the starting line a wonderful race awaits them!
The first part of the event consists of a 1.9km swim. Competitors will enjoy a calm and sheltered swim in the waters of Downings Bay before tacking the 90km bike leg which takes competitors along Donegal’s rugged coastline which will of course challenge competitors. The bike route will take in iconic Donegal sights with competitors leaving the village of Downings, taking on Atlantic Drive, Carrigart, Milford, Ray Bridge, Rathmullan, Knockalla, Fanad, Mulroy Bridge before returning to Downings.
Tough climbs await in Atlantic Drive, Knockalla and Mulroy bridge but this is arguably one of the most scenic and spectacular bike courses in the country which will lend itself to tough racing conditions that will both challenge and motivate competitors.
The half marathon (21.1km) run course will take competitors around Downings village and the Island Roy, a mainly flat fast course with a few hills thrown in for good measure- it is Donegal after all!
The atmosphere around the village is sure to electric on a spectator friendly course.
The club are warning that there will be a considerable increase in the number of cyclists along the race route and are appealing to all communities along the route to exercise extra caution on these roads over the course of the day and to come out to support and encourage the competitors along the way.