Youghal Ironman will deploy 'warm-weather' plan normally used in mainland Europe

Aid stations will be stocked with water, ice packs, isotonic drinks, energy gels and salty snacks and there will be 'wet zones' along the running course
Youghal Ironman will deploy 'warm-weather' plan normally used in mainland Europe

Katlyn Walsh and Lottie Terry from Youghal all set for the Ironman event in Youghal this weekend. Picture: Howard Crowdy

The organisers of this weekend's Ironman Cork festival in Youghal say a warm-weather plan normally deployed in mainland Europe will help offset the effects of the high temperatures on athletes over the weekend.

A total of over 4,000 runners competing in Saturday's 70.3 (half) triathlon and Sunday's full Ironman will have access to an aid station "about every 10 minutes," according to race director John Wallnutt.

"The stations will be stocked with cold water, ice packs, isotonic drinks, energy gels and salty snacks," he said.

Additionally, three 'wet zones' will be set up on the running course around the town's environs.

Once again, the Youghal people have entered into the spirit of the event and helpfully volunteered to hose down the athletes — which I've no doubt will be welcomed."

Mr Wallnutt said athletes have personal responsibility for their own wellbeing but the advice for cyclists who may not realise how dehydrated they become, is to "bring plenty of water and isotonic drinks and drink, drink, drink".

Liam and Katie Herbert from Dublin write good luck message to Ironman competitors. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Liam and Katie Herbert from Dublin write good luck message to Ironman competitors. Picture: Howard Crowdy

He said "cyclists, wearing light clothing and moving at speed, may feel a cool breeze but not realise they are also maybe being dehydrated.

The director said while some cases of exhaustion and dehydration might be expected, he did not expect serious issues such as heatstroke to arise.

"Most of the athletes will be used to dealing with this type of weather from competing in European races," he said.

Should an emergency arise however, a highly proficient medical team will be on hand, including "paramedics, advanced paramedics, nurses and ambulance service." 

Thankfully, the sea hasn't reached boiling point yet! "The water is perfect, at about 17C and non-wetsuit around 24.5C, Mr Wallnutt said, adding that with the traffic management plan now in full flow, "everything is going to plan".

The weather conditions for this second Ironman event could not be more in contrast to the inaugural one in 2019, when there was also copious water about, but it largely fell from the sky.

Rachel Schwaab, Maryland, and Kara Clark from Pennsylvania, USA, in Youghal. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Rachel Schwaab, Maryland, and Kara Clark from Pennsylvania, USA, in Youghal. Picture: Howard Crowdy

In 2022, Youghal's embrace of Ironman is hotting up in every sense with the now colourful, pedestrianised main street echoing to foreign accents and assuming the most cosmopolitan of atmospheres.

The economic windfall is also instantly apparent.

Amongst the voices, bunting and shop window displays, pop-up stall holders vie with locals in offering everything from hats and balloons, to wood carvings, home crafts and food variations.

Cerri Moynihan from Skibbereen is selling homemade jewellery and finds the ambience, on only her second ever visit to the town, "just fantastic".

Volunteers Aisling Pierce, Karen Buckner and Margaret Hennessy at the Ironman registration area in Youghal. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Volunteers Aisling Pierce, Karen Buckner and Margaret Hennessy at the Ironman registration area in Youghal. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Kenneth Moynihan from Montenotte in Cork, selling aptly named hot dogs, welcomes trade as benefiting "ordinary, grass-roots people".

Tony Gallagher, who would normally be running Blackwater mini-cruises with his 28ft half-decker, is delighted to be charged with ferrying Ironman camera crews to the 6am front strand swim stages.

"Ironman is a massive event. The atmosphere is absolutely wonderful. Youghal is relishing it," he said.

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