Aileen Reid produced Northern Ireland’s best ever result in a Commonwealth Games triathlon with a strong display to finish sixth in Thursday’s event at the Strathclyde Country Park.
The 32 year-old was with the leading group throughout and only fell behind in the closing three kilometres and at the end of the grueling 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run, in temperatures that rose above 70 degrees, she was 50 seconds behind the winner – her training partner - Jodie Stimpson of England.
“I’m pleased that I gave everything that I had. Maybe I could have squeezed a bit more out,” said the Londonderry woman
“I died a little bit on the second lap of the run going down the hill when my leg started cramping.
“I didn’t know whether to keep pushing and risk falling over myself.
“I pulled back a little bit and managed to stay running and stay on my feet.”
“I can’t turn my nose up at finishing sixth in the Commonwealth Games. The girls that were there today were world class.
“I could have picked Jodie, Kirsten and Vicky and maybe Emma Jackson too as being medal contenders but being up there competing with those girls was great for me.”
Since a disappointing Olympics when she fell off her bike and came home bleeding and in tears, Reid had been looking forward to representing Northern Ireland at these Commonwealth Games and in spite of a neck injury that had curtailed her winter training she looked strong in the swim and exited the lake in fourth place behind the English trio of Stimpson, Lucy Hall and Vicky Holland. Nikki Samuels of New Zealand joined them and initially they formed the first group on the bike.
But they couldn’t separate themselves from the field and Six became 10.
Reid added: “I had a really good swim and worked well on the bike which was pleasing. There were three English girls up at the front during the cycling and I was hoping they would work as a team and push on. I was on my own there so I had to think tactically which is part of the race.
“I did my turns at the front and worked hard up the hills and I’m hoping that my coach will be proud of my tactics and putting myself in a good position during the cycling.
“I did everything that I could have done to get the best out of myself.”
The group of 10 came through the second transition together but six quickly broke away on the run and were together for the first 6km but Reid slowly got detached and one by one the challengers to Stimpson fell away.
“It was hot but we are well used to racing in warm weather conditions. I’m pleased for Scotland to have the sun shining and to start of the Games like this.
“I’m delighted for the organisers. It has brought big crowds out and it is great for sport and great for the triathlon. It’s a fantastic way to showcase our sport.”
Reid, who was cheered on but her husband Davy and extended family won’t get too much respite with the mixed team relay being held tomorrow for the first time in the Commonwealth Games.
“I’m looking forward to the relay and hopefully I should be going first. The same girls will be racing again today in the first leg and I’d like to think it will be a world class competition again.”
Northern Ireland’s other representative Emma Sharkey didn’t finish the race.
The men’s event was dominated by the Brownlee brothers from England. The London 2012 Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee once again got the better of his younger brother Johnny after the two had split away from the field during the cycle.
The older sibling took gold by 11 seconds but walked the final 70 metres as he was so far ahead.
Northern Ireland’s Conor Murphy was with the chasing pack as the run began but fell behind eventually finishing a very creditable 12th.
Russell White was 23rd and 19 year-old Harry Speers was the last to finish in 27th although there were a number of withdrawals.