Let The Races Begin!

April 4, 2012

Summer may have appeared briefly recently but there is certainly a feel of spring in the air and the traditional racing season is now upon us.

The weeks following my South American trip was a bit busy on the organising front with super numbers attending the opening Urban Trails Race in Marlay Park and a staggering 3600+ participating in the Runamuck Spring Challenge.

This was followed by the Urban Trials Race in Tymon Park with double the entry of 2011 which took place in summer like conditions.

The last weekend of March saw a significant drop in temperatures but thankfully snow and rain did not fall on those participating in the inaugural 24 hour Shamrock Adventure Race organised by an enterprising mix of hillrunners and orienteers.

I was on the Outfront/MSAI team that coped best with the harsh overnight temperatures and relentless navigation requirements to take 1st place ahead of a strong and experienced Army team who probably suffered a little from the intensity of a very recent warm weather training plan in Spain with a team from Setanta OC  taking a deserved 3rd place.


This weekend sees the return of the Headless Horseman race in the Ballyhoura region of Co Limerick and hopefully I will recover form last weekend long race and make the start line again though I expect some stiff competition from the locals this year.

The 2012 National Adventure Series kicks off on 14th April with the WAR – Glendalough taking place in Co Wicklow. With an expected field of over 500 spread throughout the 3 options on offer it promises to be a tough challenge for all.

This is followed on the 28th April by the Monster Mac race in Millstreet Co Cork which is expected to attract almost double last year’s entry of 200. It was hailed last year for it’s super friendly atmosphere and local support which is hard to beat for sure and this year it has a beginner friendly Baby Mac version.

It should be a great month – Let The Races Begin Indeed!



World Record Ratified!

November 29, 2011

Great news, Guinness World Record is ratified, The Reek Challenge is an official new world record for “most vertical feet climbed in 24 hours” – well done to all involved in helping this happen!

Presentation night due to be held in Campbells pub on 30th Dec should be a great night


Battling Beasts and confronting Gaelforce Westerlies!

August 17, 2011

Just an update since last Month and the Ballyhoura Beast where our MSAI team had a great race and led most of the way but in the end finished second to the UK’s Wolfhounds team which included World Champion Team Member Nicola McLeod and full time adventure racer Bruce Duncan. We were still a man short with 3 days to go before the race ( Other priorities with me!) but luckily “found” AR novice Michael Flanagan (Recommended by none other than Padraig Marrey) on Tuesday evening. We had a great team dynamic and in the end a few naive mistakes cost us the win but as always we learned and hopefully will return stronger next year as it is a race that definitely suits a long distance slogger like me and Michael, Betty Walsh and Peter Cromie certainly gave it their all.

The following weekend saw me back in organisational mode with successful events in Tulfarris (Tough 10 mile and 5k events) on Saturday plus the final and very well attended final race in the Howth Aquathon Series on Monday evening.

In between those was a flying visit to Tipperary for the wedding of my mountain running friend Moire O Sullivan (She of  “Mud, Sweat and Tears” book fame) which was a great chance to catch up with both her and new hubby Pete plus other Hill running and orienteering friends.

The past 10 days has been somewhat of a washout for training with the flaring up of an old back injury but I still intend making the trip westward this weekend for the annual Gaelforce West race on Saturday. This event has attracted the creme of the 1 day multisport specialists and should provide great racing up front. I have done a Big Race Formguide which is available HERE.

Whilst I don’t expect to be getting near the podium this year it should be a good chance to catch up with many friends from the AR Scene and whilst there I will of course be doing a bit of promotion for the next National Adventure Race Series events – The Achill ROAR on 10th September and WAR Powerscourt on 24th September

July’s World Records, Monsters, Beasts and many more challenges!

July 28, 2011

The month of July is nearly gone and much has happened starting on 1st & 2nd July with my participation with 14 others in the Reeks World Record Challenge on Croagh Patrick.
In the end 11 of us achieved our aim which was to ascend and descend the holy mountain 12 times in a 24 hour period (New Irish Record). In so doing we climbed in excess of the height of Everest from sea level and the cumulative climb and descent of over 18,000m was well in excess of the current world record and hopefully will be ratified shortly.

The following weekend led to Carlingford for the annual Endurance Challenge when many old acquaintances were renewed. Some late team defections led me to team up with the Richie and Jenny Mc Cauley for the first time and the team proved a successful one despite my relatively poor cycling (Compared to my ex pro-am and Olympic cyclist team mates). Our winning mixed team was second overall so a good day out and of course night after with the traditional Carlingford hospitality.

Mid July saw the inaugural Howth Olympic Plus and Sprint Triathlons which I organised with Hariettee Lynch of Howth based Health Pro. Despite the wild and windy conditions many did conquer the challenge and enjoy the day and amongst those spotted competing was Keith Duffy of Boyzone fame who is training with a fundraising group for Irish Autism Action for an upcoming half ironman event.

Last weekend saw me return to Killaloe in Co Clare for the Lough Derg Monster event which I really enjoyed last year. The event is organised by Mike Jones based at the UL activity center and this year doubled in numbers so hopefully this will continue for 2012. I had a good and trouble free first cycle and run which gave me a decent lead which I held onto despite cramping on the last run and was well happy with my winning margin of over 5 minutes in the end.
This coming holiday weekend will be anything but a holiday as I team up with old team mates Betty Walsh, Peter Crommie and newbie Michael Flanagan for the Beast of Ballyhoura 36 hour adventure race on the Multisport Adventure Ireland team. The ante has been raised this year with some international additions with a member of the British World Champion team Nicloa McCloud being joined by professional Adventure Races Bruce Duncan on a mainly army Wolfhounds team. Main opposition to them is likely to come from the Total Experience sponsored team with Chris Caulfield being joined by recent successful RAMM Solo finisher Donnacha Cutriss, Danish girl Sessel Elmstrom and relative newbie Greg Byrne with the experienced Irish Army team led by Maeve O Grady sure to be in the mix along with Richard Nunan’s Get No Sleep team. It promises to be an exciting race with the largest entry ever.

After the Beast it will be back to more mundane matters organising the Tulfarris “Tough” 10 mile road race plus it’s not so tough 5k little brother on August 6th on the scenic shores of Blessington lakes. this race was well received by all competitors last year and hopefully more will join us in 2011 – All details at event website

Rogaining and Record Attempts on De Holy Mountain

June 30, 2011

Last w/e saw the hosting of the Rogaine Ireland by my own Setanta Orienteering Club. The main competition was the 24 hour pairs event and the South African pairing of Nicholas Mulder & Ryno Griesel followed up their 2010 2nd in the world championships to win ahead of previous winners Donal Burke and Richie O Donnell with relative newbies Greg Byrne and Zoran Skrba in third. In the 6 hour event the pairs was won by CNOC’s Don Short and Ruth Lynam whilst I had a good run and managed a win despite a fairly hefty penalty for coming back late to the control centre in the individual competition;-).
For me it was a bit of a tester of the body as I had recently been invited to join a mainly Mayo contingent of 14 others in their World Record Attempt to Summit Croagh Patrick 12 times within 24 hours this coming weekend. Not sure that I am in shape for it but I will go down and give it a go anyway – hopefully latent fitness and pig-headness will play a positive part and I will at least manage most of it :-).

Charities set to benefit are Mayo Mountain Rescue and Red Cross so if inclined any sponsorship would be great fully received at their respective pages:-

Maybe something like €1 a climb (€12 in total) or €1 a climber (€15 in total).

Many thanks in advance if you chose to help these worthy causes

From Dingle to WAR and more

June 16, 2011

Last weekend’s trip to Kerry for their second running of the Dingle Adventure Race proved a successful one with a third place finish behind Adrian Hennessy and Tralee based Milosz Wojcik. It was a long overdue first National Series win for the regular podium finisher from Kilfinane AC who managed to have a steady race throughout to take the win by a couple of mins ahead of the strong Pole.

The slippy descent off Mount Brandon after recent wet weather largely decided the race in Adrian’s favour whilst behind I had a decent if less spectacular descent to move ahead of Waterford triathlete David Power and Armyman Eoghan Carton in fifth.

An unusual sight amongst us relative featherweights finishing in 6th was heavyweight rower ( 95kgs) and 2008 Olympian Sean Casey from Killarney who showed great strength on the bike in particular.

Kerry lass Fiona Devane showed great improvement from 4th last year to take a decisive win ahead of Killkenny Tri club’s Roisin Hickey and Susie Mitchell with Pauline Brady first vet in 4th overall just ahead of Hilary Jenkinson.

This coming weekend the National Series moves back to Wicklow for the second running of the WAR Glenmalure event which unfortunately I will not get to compete in as I am organising it.

Many of the top Series contenders are coming to race including Gaelforce West and recent Connemara Rough Diamond winner Padraig Marrey, West Wicklow ROAR winner Niall Somers who won here last year and top former international runner Gary Crossan who recently won the Gallforce North event all competing in the Expert and Noel Brady and John Lenehan in the Sport. The ladies from the west will also set a high standard with Mary Mulchrone and Derval Devaney in the Expert and Marie Boyle in the Sport.

Full series details including latest Points Rankings and WAR Formguide HERE

Back to Racing!

June 8, 2011

After several weeks of enforced sideline action (stuck organising too many events!) I headed west to the Connemara Rough Diamond race last weekend. This race was a smaller event last year with barely a hundred doing a short route after the John Wayne Steeplechase on Lettergesh beach to Letterfrack by bike taking in the Fear Gorta obstacle course on route and Diamond Mountain Summit to the finish in Letterfrack. It was short but surprisingly sweet as I happened to win it but this year there were over 400 entered split between the similar length Sport course and the Expert course incorporating a testing 8km mountain run, and expanded Fear Gorta obstacle course, the short cycle to Letterfrack for the Diamond summit plus a bit extra into a local glen followed by a testing final cycle into Cliffden with the scenic detour up the well travelled Sky road.

I had a steady race, going well on the hills and not so great on the flatter bike sections but in the end the race went to the hot pre-race favourite Padraig Marrey, myself in second and his Mayo team mate Noel Gibbons in third. In the ladies section Mayo scored  a second victory with Mary Mulchrone winning ahead of my Carlow team mate Susie Mitchell in second and Mayo’s Kathleen Barry in third. The top scoring Mayo team thus took the inaugural Inter County AR Team title ahead of the Carlow team of Hilary Jenkinson, Cormac Mc Donnell, Susie and myself.

This coming Saturday we will all head southward to Kerry for the second running of the Dingle Adventure Race.  Almost 400 are entered in this single “Expert” category event which takes in the iconic bike section up and of course down the Conor Pass before the exposed climb up Mount Brandon followed by the tourist path descent and a long roar 😦 run section to the outskirts of Dingle town and the kayak sprint to the finish in the marina. Last years top 3 lads (Diarmuid Collins, myself and Adrian Hennessy ) will be back again and new challengers in the form of Kerryman Jerry O Sullivan and Eoghan Carton are sure to make it an interesting race up front whilst Susie can hopefully get another podium finish in the ladies race.

Full formguide at MSAI’s Nat Adv Race Series page

Great to be back competing indeed before  going back to organising for next week’s WAR Glenmalure event 🙂

Use the discount code “ROAR” to get tenner off the entry!