The team of Northern Irish triathletes put on an impressive display in Glasgow’s Strathclyde Park for the Commonwealth Games Triathlon on Thursday.
Aileen Reid and Emma Sharkey were up first in the women’s race facing a 1500 meter swim, 40 kilometre bike and 10 kilometre run.
The sun was high in the sky with temperatures reaching 28 degrees.
Reid got off to a flying start as she rounded the first swim buoy in the lead.
By the time they have covered the full 1500 meters Reid was in fourth in a time of 19:39, just six seconds off super swimmer Lucy Hall of England.
Youngster Emma Sharkey, competing in her first major games and one of her first standard distance triathlons, emerged for the water in 15th and just over a minute off the pace.
The Belfast girl made it out onto the bike but suffered an asthma attack and was forced to withdraw from the race.
At the head of the race, Reid was going well on the bike and entered transition with a small group of some 10 athletes.
On to the run and that number quickly dwindled with just Reid, Jackson, Hewitt, Holland, Sweetland and Stimpson remaining.
With 3km to go Reid began to suffer from cramp and dropped off the pace. England’s Jodie Stimpson went on to win in a time of 1:58:56, with Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland second and England’s Vicky Holland third.
Aileen Reid finished sixth in a time of 1:59:46 commenting after the race.
The men’s race got underway at 3pm and saw three Northern-Irish representatives in the form of Conor Murphy, Russell While and Harry Speers.
Murphy was pleased with his 12th place finish after targeting a top 15 in the Games.
The Portadown man had a good swim to exit at the front of the chase pack. Up front the Brownlee brothers were putting on an impressive display and managed to hold the chase pack at bay throughout the hilly 40 kilometres.
Russell White exited the water just at the back of Murphy’s race pack and was unlucky to miss the cut as he couldn’t quite latch on the back. The student teacher battled on with two athletes for company.
On to the run and England’s Alistair Brownlee turned on the style to win in a time of 1:48:40.
Younger brother Jonny came home 11 seconds later with the South African Richard Murray running away from the chasing pack to claim bronze in 1:50:21.
Conor Murphy did well under the mid-day sun coming home 12th in a time of 1:52:29. U-23 Russell White finished 23rd in 1:59:20 with 18-year-old Harry Speers 27th in 2:12:29.
“I’m happy with my own performance. I left everything out there,” Reid said afterwards.
"I am pleased, you cannot turn your nose up at sixth place in a world-class field. I have been improving all year after a slow start and Rio in 2016 is the bigger picture."
“There were people shouting ‘Go Aileen’ all the way and waving flags so the support was great.”
The team will now rest up for what should prove to be an exciting and closely fought team relay competition on Saturday starting at 12:30pm.
Eimear Mullan is due to be drafted in for the mixed team relay race and will join Aileen Reid, Conor Murphy and Russell White on the Northern Irish team.