Vicky Receives ‘Spirit Of Triathlon’ Accolade At Triathlon Ireland Awards

Posted by


Vicky McCarthy receives her award from An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. Photo: Damien Jackson, TI Media

A TRALEE woman, who has defied all the odds, to complete a triathlon, has been honoured for her achievement with the Spirit of Triathlon award from Triathlon Ireland.

On Saturday night at a Gala dinner in the Gibson Hotel in Dublin, the Tralee woman, was announced as the winner of the Spirit of Triathlon Award which was presented by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

Club members, Majella Diskin, Paudie Murphy and Ciara Tierney, were also honoured at the Triathlon Ireland National Awards for their superb performances this year taking gold, silver and bronze in their respective age groups.

“I was estactic. I had no idea that I had won it,” said Vicky.

Continued below…


Thirty-four-year old Vicky McCarthy from Manor will never forget the joy of crossing the finish line when she completed her first ever triathlon in Fenit in 2013 – a feat she thought she would never complete.

She had been diagnosed with her first brain tumour at the age of 10 which had to be urgently removed by surgery. Two years later the tumour regrew and she had to have open head surgery in her early teens. This was closely followed by a battle with meningitis.

In 2002 after sitting her Leaving Cert, she had a third tumour removed in yet another serious surgery and a year later she had the tumour removed with laser surgery.

Although she has now been completely clear for over 15 years the surgeries have left her suffering fatigue and dependent on medication to regulate her glands and control her hormones, her temperature, her food and water intakes, sleep patterns and her emotional behaviour and memory.


Yet despite this health battle, Vicky was determined to follow in her sister, Leanne’s footsteps and complete her own triathlon.

Leanne joined Tralee Triathlon club in 2009 and Vicky became her number one supporter on the sidelines during races. She remains one of the club’s biggest supporters and she is at every race to support the participants.

“I never thought I would do it myself,” she said.

However in 2011 she convinced her dad, Dan, to compete in a triathlon in Fenit with her. Vicky completed the swim leg and her father the bike and the run.

She was bitten by the bug and determined that one day she would complete her own triathlon and that dream came through in 2013 when she did the Try-a-Tri at Tri Kingdom Come in Fenit.

“I’m not going to win but I really enjoy taking part. There is nothing like crossing that finish line.”

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to do it. It doesn’t matter if you are last. Don’t give up. Triathlon has changed my life.”

Since her first ever triathlon she has completed many Try-a-Tri events including the annual Tri Kingdom Come in Fenit and local 5km races, encouraging many of her friends and new athletes to take part. Her motto is if she can do it anyone can.

Her sister, Leanne, nominated her for the Spirit of Triathlon Award in this year’s National Triathlon Ireland Awards, as Vicky embodies everything that is special about the sport.

“She reminds us to enjoy the experience of triathlons and inspires many to push their limits to achieve their goals. She is always around on our home training ground at Fenit throughout the summer to accompany new swimmers in the water and help set up transition areas for club events giving advice and tips. She can be seen at any event, holding up signs to get a smile and encourage athletes. Most recently, she travelled to IM Barcelona with the club and held a sign throughout the 15hr day, saying ‘I trained to hold this sign’ and ‘hurry up, my arms hurt’,” says Leanne.

“I think my sister is the true epitome of this award. I may be a little biased but she is deserving of this award.”


Club chairman, Francis Foley, said that that no-body is more deserving than Vicky of this award.

“She is a true club member always on hand to help out and support others. Her story is truly is inspirational and shows that everyone can do a triathlon if they put their mind to it.”

Comments are closed.