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Welcome to the third issue of our Hard Way newsletter!

As you can see, we have expanded it considerably to include interviews, gear reviews, advice, tips etc. Hopefully, you will find the content useful - if you do, encourage your friends to sign up for it.

Travelling Coach

Our first Coaches' Corner features Mick Keogh from Keogh Fitness in Coolock. Before our half in Waterville in 2017, I had no idea who Mick was. By the end of the day, I certainly did! 
Mick brings huge passion to his job, leads by example, and cheers on all his clients until the end. He never leaves the finish line until his last client has crossed it. This is the type of spirit we at Hardman like to see and encourage.
At the Hardman full-distance in August 2019, Mick achieved his own personal drive for five by finishing in fifth place in his fifth Hardman event. Will there be a drive for six? That would mean a step backwards - much like the direction Dublin are taking!
We are now very proud to be a sponsor of the Keoghfit Triathlon team and look forward to seeing the crew at our events throughout the summer. Read Mick's interview below..

Each month we will interview a runner and a triathlete to show you that our events do attract people from every walk of life and background and to learn a little about what makes athletes tick.

Running Away with It

Our first Runner Interview is with Dr. Derek Griffin from Tralee. Derek is a physiotherapist based in the Bons Secours Hospital in Tralee and the top long-distance runner in Kerry by a country mile(literally).
Derek has run in Hardman races during the last few years, and I have never presented him with a prize other than first. A gentleman to the bone, Derek never leaves a race until everyone is safely across the line and will stand happily answering questions all day. 
Known here as the "King of the Gap," he is unbeaten in the Gap of Dunloe since 2015, setting a half course record of 1.17.24 in 2019 and passing the full-distance mark in 2.45 in November 2019. We wish Derek all the best in his quest to run sub-2.30 this year and, all going well, we will have a bit of competition lined up for Derek at the Gap of Dunloe full marathon this November.   

Triathlete of the Month

Anne Marie Fenton hails from a famous Dublin sporting family, a fact they happily attribute to their Kerry roots. A doctor in Drogheda at present,  Anne Marie travels down regularly with her gang to take part in our triathlons and occasional running races.
A powerful swimmer who is always in the lead group out of the water, Anne Marie enjoys the occasion and the weekend away every bit as much as the race. Always smiling and always happy, she is somebody we look forward to seeing
every summer. 

Competition Time

To launch the first of our gear reviews, Aidan at VeloRevolution has very kindly donated a Speedcheat Aero Kona speedsuit to one subscriber. We will make the draw and announce the winner mid-week when we and VeloRevolution will also be launching, a Hardman tri suit you can purchase directly from VeloRevolution. See our Facebook and Instagram pages this week for updates. For the full range visit where you too can dress like a pro.

Gear Reviews

Fiona Kelly from Wicklow reviews the ladies' version of the cheatsuit here. I do hope you like the photograph as it was taken by the Hardman official photographer in Lanzarote in October. Fiona has promised to wear the suit in Kerry over the summer and not just when supporting Peter at the full distance here in August. 

To review the male suit we asked Kevin Fennessy, aka Kona Kev for his thoughts. Kevin is a Tipperary man racing in Cork colours and just returned from a one-week "training" camp in Lanzarote with the other members of the East Cork Tribe, a great bunch from the area who support our races here and bring a great spirit of fun and competitiveness to each event. Kevin is the current champion of our Dingle event in September but we hope to see him before then.

We have asked Art Van Leeuwen from Cork (via Canada and Holland) to review a Dare2Tri wetsuit for us. Art is a very active age grouper who competes in the longer distances all across Europe. I have a Mach 5 suit myself but the only review I can give to date is that it looks good hanging in the wardrobe beside the other wetsuits. (Soon!)

Dare2Tri is a well-known brand in Europe and along with its sister brand, De Boer wetsuits, is gaining popularity across the world. the full range is available online at McCarthy Cycles at 

For our last review this month we go back to Kona Kev again because that's the kind of guy he is, helpful, obliging and some man for one man. Kevin's bike of choice is the Giant Propel Advanced pro, which he purchased from in Midleton Co. Cork but is available in all good bike shops nationwide.

Events Coming Up

Coming into March we have one race down, the Gap of Dunloe half-marathon and 10k. We had a great day in the Gap and, unusually for the year that's in it, the weather actually played ball - if only for the race time. (The rest of the day was not so good, but that was probably down to the shocking display by the Irish rugby team. To be fair, they looked like they were on the way home from running in the Gap. Get the results here.

Make sure you register for our 10k in Killarney National Park on Sunday, March 29th. This is a mostly flat run, entirely within the Park, and it's a part of the Wander Wild Festival here in Killarney. 

Another event for your calendar is the Killarney duathlon on April 4th. This is our only fast, flat race and is an ideal season opener. It's standard distance, so 10k-40k-5k. Be quick because it is very close to selling out, and we have some big names. As far as I know, it is the only standard distance in the country, hence why it has become so popular. While you're at it, check out our post on duathlon versus triathlon.
See you there! 

That's it for this month guys. I look forward to catching up with you soon. Hope to see many of you at the next events. 

We are always looking for articles/reviews etc for the newsletter. If you have something you think may be of interest please send it on.

Yours in sport,

Alan Ryan
087 6259892
10 Questions to a Trainer
The word "character" was invented to describe people like Mick Keogh but he's deadly serious when it comes to training his athletes for triathlons. We caught up with him to find out what drives him to push himself and his team to achieve their absolute best:

What is your sporting background, Mick?

I played soccer at a high level up until my 30s, winning the Irish junior international player of the year award in 2007, while keeping myself in shape with gym work and eventually opening my own gym in 2010. 

And how long have you been a triathlete/coach?

I’m a fitness instructor qualified in nutrition and strength & conditioning since 2010 in my gym MDfitness Coolock. I’m a triathlon coach 5 years and a certified official Ironman coach since 2017.

Who inspires you to keep going in the sport? 

Inspiration is a huge word for me, so along with my clients- especially the total beginners when they overcome setbacks and failures in the early stages, learning three new disciplines but still stay consistent to achieve their ultimate goal no matter what the distance - I have to say, my kids. 
I've two kids (Katie, 15 & Mikey, 5) and another one on the way, and I'll be in this sport to cross a Hardman triathlon finish line with all three of them, so that dream gives me my WHY and keeps the fire burning. 

What's your best achievement as an athlete?

Backing myself 100% in 2015 and signing up for my very first triathlon Ironman Barcelona 2016 when, looking back, no one had a clue what the sport was or what I was doing. It wasn’t popular in my local area or the people I mixed with and having to learn to swim from scratch and not giving up. Standing there on that beach in Spain knowing I had that 3.8k sea swim in the bag is a feeling that will be very hard to beat. 

And what's your best achievement as a coach?

Training my two close friends for Ironman Maastricht in Holland after they supported me in Ironman Barcelona the year before. After speaking to both of them and convincing them this would change their lives for the better I would go on to train them free of charge to pull off what other people think is impossible. My biggest achievement as a coach is witnessing them every day become better people and knowing I had a small part to play in this. 

So Mick, why should people take up triathlons? 

Triathlon is an amazing sport for all fitness levels and all ages. I feel it teaches you discipline, patience, courage, and the skill of never giving up, when sometimes this feels like the only option, and all these areas of growing as a person today are being overlooked in society. The mental/physical health benefits are endless when you surround yourself with goal-getters to inspire you. 

What trend worries you about triathlon at present? 

100% the reliance of technology for every walk, stretch, workout, race, and sleep an athlete completes these days (Yes, it’s gone this far). 
It’s making people compare journeys and taking the goodness out of their own journey, while I believe making people overtrain just so they can post what they think is a great day's training on all these formats. 

“Remember Easy is an Effort and technology is only a good second opinion.” 

What trait do you look for before working with a client? 
I actually like signing up all different personalities from all backgrounds and seeing how they reacted to the challenges triathlon has to offer. Triathlon has its own special way of slowing down egos and building up all low self esteems to mould you into the best athlete you can become. I find it helps when someone tells me in their assessment that they are doing it for their kids, a total life change or even a passed away family member as it gives them accountability for their WHY. 

One piece of advice to anyone involved in or thinking of getting involved in triathlon?

The best investment you can make is in yourself. People are throwing crazy money at situations in front of them feeling that will fix their problem when they still have to swim in that wetsuit, cycle that bike and run in them runners.

No pressure, Mick, but what's your favourite race?

EASY, Hardman Waterville 70.3 and this is coming from a triathlete that completed Lanza, Barcelona x 2, Maastricht & Cork IM including all the big 70.3’s. 
It’s not because this is a Hardman survey but because this race is a special middle distance race that tests you in all areas. Sign up and find out and I’ll see you in July. 

If you'd like to see what you're capable of, here are Mick's contact details: 
Website -
Instagram - keoghfit 
Facebook - keoghfit
YouTube - keoghfit 

What was your background in sport before marathon running?

I started running in 2012 and ran my first marathon in 2013. I was always very active and as a child, played a variety of sports but none for a long time! My dad was a marathon runner and I have very fond memories of attending many of the country’s big races including the Dublin Marathon, Ballycotton 10 and some of the local road races. So I was exposed to running from an early age.

What inspires you to keep going?

I enjoy the competitive aspect of running. Picking a target race and aiming for a specific time is what motivates me. I am always trying to improve on my previous performances. I also enjoy running abroad and combining running with travel adds an enjoyable dimension.

Best achievement as a runner?

I have completed all six of the world major marathons which is something that I am proud of. In terms of performances, the London Marathon in 2019 is where I felt that I was starting to show my potential over the marathon distance. I ran 2.31 on the day.

Why should someone take up running?

The benefits of running are many. Apart from the obvious health benefits, running is a great way to socialise, make new friends and set yourself a challenge. Running teaches us important life lessons - patience, consistency, discipline and hard work are ingredients for success.

What advice would you give a beginner?

For those new to running, it is important to be patient and avoid increasing the amount of running you do too quickly. Be patient and sensible with your approach. Set a realistic goal and make a plan. Seek advice from someone knowledgeable about the sport to help guide the process.

What is the most worrying trend in running at present?

One of the big problems that we are seeing is runners relying on technology (watches, heart rate etc) to dictate their running. One of the most important aspects of training is to get comfortable running based on the effort you feel. Running solely based on your watch can in some situations lead to pushing excessively hard when you are tired or not pushing hard enough when you might feel good.

What is your preferred distance/race type(hilly, flat etc.)?

The marathon is my preferred distance. But I enjoy racing anything from 10 miles upwards. I enjoy running in natural environments, especially over rolling hills. Of course, it is nice to race on flat terrain every now and then!

Your favourite race?

My favourite race is the London Marathon. It is an amazing event. Locally, it is no secret that the Hardman Gap of Dunloe half marathon is top of my list!

If different, your favourite Hardman race?

See above!

What is your target for 2020?

My main goal for 2020 is to run under 2.30 for the marathon.

What was your background in sport before triathlon?
I started out as a competitive swimmer, swimming for years with Cormorant SC in Dublin. I broke an Irish Junior Record for the 800m freestyle and represented Ireland at Junior Europeans. After calling it a day when I left school – I played water polo in college & was captain of Trinity College swimming & water polo club in 2008
What inspires you to keep going?
The social side of things: A group of us has formed over the years that travel to races throughout the summer. Every race can be made in to a holiday, and we’ve worked off the meal & pints already by doing a triathlon!
Best achievement as a triathlete?
Crossing the finish line of both middle-distance races that I’ve done, but particularly Bantry in 2019. Nearly 7 hours on the hills of West Cork required some serious soul searching to keep going.
 Why should someone take up triathlons?
I’ve seen some people go from thinking they could never do a triathlon to being completely hooked. Apart from all the positive things for health and well-being, going from being a spectator to a participator in sport gives a great sense of achievement. Also, the slog of training during the winter more than pays off when you do a triathlon on a summer's day in Ireland – particularly in the Kingdom!
What advice would you give a beginner?
Just go for it – don’t be too hard on yourself, enjoy it all
What is the most worrying trend in triathlon at present?

I don’t see many negatives – but costs can be prohibitive to someone not sure if they will continue in the sport. Since I started doing triathlons in 2011 – the overall numbers doing them have gone up, which is brilliant, but more female participation would be great to see.
What is your preferred distance/discipline?
An Olympic with some soft hills is ideal.
Your favourite race?
Tied for Valentia Island, and King of The Hill in Kinsale
If different, your favourite Hardman race?
Honourable mention for the Valentia Island half marathon, can’t really beat the setting
What is your target for 2020?

More of the same, more sea swimming!
Fiona Kelly Hardman Trisuit
Finding the perfect tri suit is never an easy job especially when it comes to racing long distance where comfort is is important! 

When trying to pick a suitable tri suit these are the things I look out for:
1. Good fit - you want a suit that is properly sized to you so that you are more aerodynamic (the SpeedCheat has a really good fit, I went for a size small - I am 5'5 and 55kg and find the fit to be perfect). 

2. Material - I am an over-heater when I run so I like my suits to have good ventilation and not be really thick heavy material on my upper body. The SpeedCheat is very lightweight on top and very breathable so it was perfect for racing in. As a side note, the leg grippers at the bottom of the shorts are great as they stop your shorts from rolling up while on the bike or running.

3. Easy to get in and out of - especially when racing long distance, it is inevitable you will require bathroom breaks, so you need to be able to get in and out of your suit easily yourself. The front zip on this tri suit is great and also added ventilation when you need it. 

4. Storage - maybe this one is just me but I need pockets in my suit to carry snacks (well gels) for when I am on the run, and I was a bit dubious about the pockets being in the legs as I am used to having back pockets. I thought the weight of the gels may feel strange while running, but I didn't even notice them in the leg pockets and they were a lot easier to get at while running. 

Having raced a 70.3 in Lanzarote in this tri suit I can report back that it was perfect in the heat, I had no rub or friction marks after racing in it all day, and I got quite a few compliments about the suit as the bright yellow really does stand out!
The new Velo Revolution SpeedCheat Aero Kona Speedsuit has to be the suit of choice for any triathlete.

I have often contemplated which is better, the one-piece triathlon suit or to go for the separate shorts and top. The shorts and top just never feel properly aero like a full suit does but are very handy for when nature calls. Well, the VR Kona suit is the best of both. The top section of the suit has a full-length zip, which can come in very handy for races in hot climates but when zipped up you are fully aero.

Obviously the key point of a speedsuit is to be as aerodynamic as possible, and the VR Kona with its new Aero Speed Lycra is most certainly that. The Lycra fabric around the shoulders and sleeves gives it a much lighter and aero feel from any other suit I have worn. The fabric does not feel as tight and restrictive across the shoulders as other suits and the long sleeves are perfect for racing in hotter climates. The seat pad in the Kona is very comfortable which is a major plus when it comes time to attack the run course. Some great new features include pockets on both sides which can hold small water bottles and the opening vent at the front of the suit is a major time saver when a quick pit stop is required.

I have used the VR Kona in all types of conditions from one of the worst weather conditions of the year in Ironman Cork to some of the hottest conditions you can race in Hawaii and a mixture of both on the many spectacular Hardman courses. On all occasions the suit did its job far better than I had expected. This really is a quality speedsuit and the icing on the cake, it is considerably cheaper than similar-quality speedsuits on the market. You may not be able to ride as fast as a pro but nothing wrong with looking like one.
I am an Age Group Triathlete and tend to do the longer events -Olympics, halves and fulls - and would train pretty much year-round, entering events in the Canaries in the winter and spring, Ireland during the summer and Canada in late summer/early fall.

I started using the Dave Scott HUUB suit and got along well with it. Two years ago I acquired my first Dare2Tri wetsuit - a Mach 3S.7. The arms are soft and pliable and do not restrict your stroke at all, making it easier to swim longer without that pulling a stretch band sensation. The Speed Panels on the Torso and legs give ample buoyancy. In warm water and cold water, the suits tend to do the job thermally as well. One really nice thing about the Dare2Tri wetsuit is how fast it comes off after a swim. a real bonus in transition. 

I still have my Dave Scott, but it hangs lonely in the closet waiting for the day when maybe I will give it another go. Truth is, I prefer the Mach 3S.7! Easy on / Easy off, buoyant and light. Same is true for my Dare2Tri Coldmax tri suit!

Note: Dare2Tri wetsuits are available from McCarthy Cycles
A major conundrum I had after signing up for Ironman Cork was the type of bike to use. With the amount of climbing, the challenging road surface and potential for high winds, I never felt that a TT bike was the right choice for me. I spoke to a lot of triathletes who were training on the course and they still felt the TT bike was the way to go and they may be right. But once I got a few circuits of the course under my belt, I made up my mind that a road bike was the way for me.

I felt though I needed to get something a bit more aero than my ageing road bike so I got in contact with Mark in An Rothar. As An Rothar deal with a wide range of manufacturers, I felt they were most suitable to give me the best advice on the bike to use. We had a good chat about the different bike options available and I finally decided on the Giant Propel Advanced Pro. It’s not an easy bike to build as the cables are fully rooted trough the handlebars and down the frame but the lads in An Rothar did a great job. I also ordered the aero bars to try and give me as aero a position as possible on the bike. The lads in An Rothar helped me set up the bike to best suit me and anytime I felt it needed a few tweaks here and there, the lads were always on hand to help me out.
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