Page 1 ISSUE #9


Your Home of Adventure Racing

We Are Back!


A New Exciting race is on the horizon on page 8



on page 26


on page 11


FEB/MAR 2019



The season may have ended but that didn't mean we downed tools.. P.6 EVENT CALENDAR Time to get planning. See what's upcoming in February & March P.8 SHAMROCK ADVENTUR RACE It's new. It's different. It's exciting P.10 THE OUTSIDER AWARDS Its the equivalent of the oscars for those who prefer the wind and rain to the cinema. P.11 INTRODUCING LAURA O'DRISCOLL Not that Laura needs any introduction, but she will be giving us all her top Yoga moves to stay on top of our game





Winner Winner! Ed Thompson picked up two entires to Gaelforce Dublin in March






AT QUEST 12.24

for the best adventure race photo as voted by you guys






From the Gang

We've been busy... Even though the magazine took a well earned winter break, the lads have kept themselves busy over the off season. Both Dave & Padraig took on the Art O'Neill Challenge in aid of the Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team (DWMRT). A great event that starts at midnight in Dublin Castle and makes its 53KM way to Glenmalure in Wicklow Via Stone Cross in the foothills of the Dublin/ Wicklow mountains. A much needed fund raiser for the DWMRT. With Dave's main focus now firmly fixed on "The Race" in March he has been clocking up the training miles on the bike and trails hard in full prep. He has completed once before so is under no illusions what lays ahead. Getting back in to the swing of training after a long injury lay-off is never easy, after Art O’Neill Ultra Padraig has been working on getting a few miles under the belt on the bike, not all serious training, | 04

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READY TO GO AT THE ART O' NEILL CHALLENGE Barry Cronin, Claire Morrissey, Dave Gowan, Shauna Gowan & Padraig O'Connor

a few good morning spent exploring the hills, woods and beach on the fat bike. A few night outings running the trails in the Dublin mountains and the Raheny 5 mile finished out a decent start to the new year...not quite ready for Quest Kenmare but he’ll give it a go...there’s a long year of adventure racing ahead! Greg has been working hard on recovery from his ankle injury back in late October. And in the process has learned to swim. Wonders never seice. Also been busy working on the short animation that was launched last week. Lots of fun had there.

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Upcoming Events Slaney Valley Adventure Race Date: Feb 16th Start ing in Bree Village, Enniscorthy, the Slaney Valley Adventure Race brings thrills and spills back to the sunny south-east. • 33.5Km Race info...

Quest Kenmare Date: Mar 2nd Back for it's second year with new and improved routes, this sold out event it sure to be a great day. Just added to the National Adventure Race Series • 27Km - Mini • 55Km - Sport • 65Km - Expert Race info...

Shamrock AR Date: Mar 16th An 8 hour endurance race starting in Gregnamanaigh, Co. Kilkenny, where you will compete as part of a team 2 or 4. Navigation, Canadian Canoes on the Barrow and traversing across the Blackstairs Mountains. Whats there not to love!

Race info...

...lots more new events to be announced, to stay up to date with all the latest Even | 06

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in Feb & Mar '19 Shore 2 Summit Date: Mar 16th Back for it's second year with new and improved routes, this sell out event it sure to be a great day. Just added to the National Adventure Race Series • 27Km - Mini • 55Km - Sport • 65Km - Expert

Race info...

The Race Date: Mar 23rd Revered as one of the toughest races around, this 250km behemoth will test every muscle and sinew you thought you never had... • 250km

Race info...

Gaelforce Dublin Date: Mar 23rd Back now for it's 3rd year, the award winning event that's set in the foothills of ur capital will put you through your paces. Notoriously hard cycles and an eco system of it's the Dublin mountains will surely test you. • 29Km • 49Km

Race info...

so make sure to follow us on Facebook nt announcements.... The Home Of Adventure racing | 07


SHAMROCK AR A new race is on the horizon and we for one, are excited about it.


here has been an upsurge of new races on the calendar. Races that are straying from the ever-popular race format. The hardcore out there, may argue that this style of race is closer to the true meaning of adventure racing. The European contingent will for sure. Races that involve map reading, orienteering, time limits and greater variation in skillsets. One such race is the brand-new Shamrock AR. Set in Carlow, it will test your navigation skills as teams of 2 and 4 tackle the Blackstairs Mountains on foot and mountain bike, and paddling down the Barrow River in Canadian Canoe. Teams can be mixed, all male or all female. There are two classes available to compete in. An Expert Class where teams complete all stages and a Sport Class where teams can leave out the water stage. Like a shamrock the race will be split into three stages based around the race HQ - the new Outdoor Acivity Hub in Graignamanagh. Teams will navigate their way around the hills, forests and rivers in the region finding as many checkpoints as possible over the 8 hours. More experienced teams will be streched to visit all the checkpoints but you can check off as many as you like and still compete. Some will be easy to access, others not so - its up to you which ones you go for! There are several similar races on the calendar like TEAR 5, TEAR 12, DAR12, DAR 24 and The Beast. You don't need to have map reading skills but someone in your team should. The race course is designed to allow people of varing speeds and abilities to compete it from the most hardened elite adventure racer to the novice team looking for an outdoor challenge. Definitely worth a go if you are looking for something that little bit different.


BRICK TRAINING A so-called “brick” consists of a full bike workout followed immediately by a full run workout; in other words, it's a session in which each part could stand alone as a complete workout. A transition run is a short run—usually 10 to 20 minutes—after a full bike ride


arlier this month, we were honoured with being shortlisted for not 1 but 2 awards at the annual prestigious Outsider Magazine Awards. "Most Dedicated to Promoting the Outdoor Scene" and the "Outsider Audience Choice Award". What a great night! Alas we didn't bring back any silverware but We met some of the most inspiring outdoorsy folk this country has to offer and to be considered for awards alongside these guys was a true honour. We want to thank each and everyone who took the time to vote for us. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

WINNERS A noteable winner on the night was that of the Best Outdoor Event. Top honours were taken home by none other than Elite Events for Quest Killarney over a massively competitive field. So well done guys.




n other news, we announced that none other than current Ladies National Series Champion (Expert Series) Laura O'Driscoll will be contributing in future issues. Laura holds a yoga class that is channelled towards athletes looking to improve strength, flexibility, recouperation and all that good stuff that is so often overlooked but so vital. The key ingredients to longevity and success in the sporting world.

So keep an eye out as Laura will be dropping tips and tricks to keep you in tip top shape. If you are wondering how Laura got into Yoga, click on the blog link below.


Email us for more details: | 012

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COMPETITOR SPOTLIG I knew something had to change but was not sure how to go about it...

GHT - ED THOMPSON This Is Ed Thompson. He recently won a competition on our Facebook page for Best Adventure Race Photo as voted by you. The caption that accompanied the photo sparked our interest...So we got chatting, well quite the story to be told...Enjoy


o Ed, when your wife Yvonne entered the photo competition, the caption that was added read "My hubbies first adventure race! One of his main goals to complete having lost 4 1/2 stone #teamwork! Smiles say it all!". What the hell? You have got to fill us in on this. How does someone go about losing that much weight? Where to start?? In July 2017 I was feeling frustrated with my weight. I knew I was the heaviest I had ever been. Buying clothes was a chore in trying to get clothes to fit me and without coming across as vain and overly self-conscious I was not happy with the way I looked or felt. My weight was pulling me down mentally, physically and emotionally. To a point I would say I was feeling somewhat depressed about how I felt. I knew something had to change but not sure how to go about it. With reluctance and a lot of other half support from my wife Yvonne, I reluctantly joined slimming world in 2017 and set myself a target to loose 4st 5lbs within a year. Currently I was weighing 18st 5lbs. Gradually over this period of time I started to lose weight through food optimization with Slimming World and getting my backside into gear by running. I remember my first 5k run in around October 2017 and having to stop and start approximately 15 different times. But I kept at it and eventually in November I was able to put together 5k without stopping. For some that may not be a huge event but for me it was a significant milestone considering the level of fitness or not I was coming from and carrying excess weight. In around December 2017 my wife, Yvonne who supported me throughout my journey encouraged me to sign up with her for Quest Glendalough. That we did and with my target weight in sight I planned to hit this prior to Quest Glendalough. The big debate was what race distance to enter in, but we proceeded with the Sport 41 km event. I thought I was absolutely mad bearing in mind I could've gone for a shorter course event for my first race. The Home Of Adventure racing | 015


ED THOMPSON Now the pressure was really on. I had no road bike, no real experience of kayaking and on a good day I could run probably 7k, downhill!!!!! Ah sure why wouldn’t you sign up to an adventure race? It was sort of like entering a formula one race without a F1 car. So let us deal with the easy part. I need a bike. Solution, buy a bike. A Giant Defy was what was bought from Martin Keane in Race Right Cycles in Portlaoise and 2 cycles a week included in my weekly training plan and routine. Now I had to get my general level of fitness to a standard of being able

to complete the race. In the intervening months there was seismic events happening more regularly, which was in reality me pounding my local roads and the poor Slieve Bloom mountains increasing the mileage and introducing the type of terrain I was likely to encounter to be able to complete my first adventure race. A few visits to Glendalough occurred in February and March to familiarise ourselves with the route but both times I left questioning whether to change down to the challenge route. I stubborned (yeah I have just made up that word but that was a reflection of what it was) it out and decided to stick with the Sport route which we had booked. The week of the race I went to my weigh in at slimming world on the Thursday and hit my target weight loss of 4 stone 5 lbs. Part one of my Quest was complete. Mission accomplished. The second part was now to complete Quest Glendalough. I remember the morning of the race heading to Glendalough feeling somewhat nervous and anxious and hoping for one thing and that was to simply complete the event and get home safe. That I did in three hours 7 minutes. I was ecstatic. I had completed my first Quest Adventure race. Part two of my Quest complete. Mission totally accomplished. Little did I know following day how I would feel. I was suffering from PRSD. Post Race Stress Disorder. I needed another | 016

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adventure race. So the calendar come out and in went a series of races including Quest Killarney and Quest Achill. In 2018 I completed 8 adventure races, 1 triathlon, a half marathon and the great Dublin 105k bike ride in addition to numerous 5 and 10 km races. My only singular regret for 2018 is not having started my first adventure race as Quest Kenmare so as to put together the quadrant of medals of which I have three parts. That's why 2019 is going to be different. I’m not going to let that opportunity pass me by. My single or maybe call it single collective aim for 2019 is to complete all six Quest events including Quest 12.

The night before I didn’t sleep well. Probably a bit anxious about the race. However I got up the next morning at 5.30 and had for breakfast what is now my pre race ritual of beans on toast and tea. Both Yvonne and I set off off for Glendalough an hour and a halfs drive. We arrived in Laragh at the car park and was amazed at the amount of competitors taking part. I was taking part in the sport event 41k. I got my gear together all the time worrying had I forgotten anything. Anyway I hadn’t. The race started and we were led out of the car park on a rolling start. On the cycle climb up to the Shay Elliot transition I needed to take a drink from my drinks bottle. I took

What's your sporting background? In school and in my 20’s I used to play rugby union, rugby league and hockey. I stopped playing these sports about 28. Since then I used to play 7 a side soccer once a week. In the days leading up to your first race, what was going through your head...I have this in the bag or I'm a bag of nerves? Will I be able to complete it? was what was going through my head. I just simply wanted to get over that finishing line in one piece. Nerves played a huge part but I was focused on completing the race even if it meant I had to crawl over the finish line. Briefly, tell us about your first race day experience. The Home Of Adventure racing | 017


ED THOMPSON a drink and went to put the bottle into the cage and it fell to the ground. Rookie mistake. Boy did I feel like an idiot. Off the bike to collect the bottle which had started to roll downhill faster than I could catch it. Collected it, ran back up the hill to where I had thrown the bike in the ditch and back cycling with an uphill start. Got to the top of the Shay Elliot and into transition to take on the 6k up Braigue Mountain over to Cullentragh and back to transition. I had to walk the last km and now self doubt was entering my head. Had I taken on to much. Back to transition | 018

and I knew I had a few minutes to get myself back on track with the fast cycle downhill into Drumgoff. From there into Greenan with a tough climb coming out of the village. That climb was horrendous but I kept saying to myself do not get off. Do not get off. I just about stayed on the bike and once over that hill enjoyed the downhill into the vale of clara and back to transition. Yvonne was just behind me at transition and passed me at the start of the next 6k run to the lake. Couldn’t she have waited I was thinking. Oh well I was on my own. The legs were getting heavy on the climb up out of Laragh looking down on Glendalough. I decided to walk the uphill. When it evened out I developed into a trot down to the lake. Who was waiting for me only Yvonne with a drink of water for me. She had sacrificed her race to wait for me for the Kayak. True Teamwork. Into the kayak for what was my favorite part of the race. It was truly majestic to have the opportunity to kayak in such beautiful scenery and surroundings. Both of us had a good chat on the kayak saying we would now finish this together, the finish was in sight and we were not giving up. Out of the kayak for the last 2k which actually felt like 20. It felt slow, the legs were heavy but we encouraged each other over the finish line. We had done it. My first adventure race completed. Wow what a feeling. Ecstatic I was. Boy did I enjoy that pint at the finish line. The Home Of Adventure Racing

Do any of the races stand out? Three in particular. Quest Glendalough as it was my first and that gave me the bug. Gaelforce West as it was my first longest distance race and completed it on my own. Quest Achill as it was my best result of the year. What races/goals have you set for the upcoming season? Will we see you tog out for more races in 2019. Yeah I definitely plan to be on the adventure racing circuit for the year. Aim is to complete all 6 quest events including Quest Wales and 12. In addition I aim to complete the 4 Gaelforce races and probably a few more like Lilliput legend and my local race Off the Bloom. You then went on to do 7 more races that year. It would be a safe assumption that you have caught "The Bug". What is it for you that keeps bringing you back? Yeah I have the bug. Two things keep bringing me back. One I often remind myself where I come from on my journey and secondly where do you get the opportunity to witness and explore the wonderful beauty Ireland has to offer whilst completing a multi discipline sport that I have fallen for. I am a sucker for facts and figures and one of my aims for this year is to improve on all my results from last year. For example Quest Glendalough is now to come in under 2hrs 50mins. That will be a huge challenge for me. Of the 3 disciplines, Kayaking, cycling & running, which would be your strongest/favourite? Cycling is my strongest by far and the faster I can go the better. What inspires you? My family, my wife Yvonne and especially my two kids Killian and Geordan who will hopefully get to enjoy a happy, healthier and fitter dad who hasn’t become a couch potato. Maybe I will be there inspiration in getting into adventure racing in the future. They already cycle and run laps around our house claiming to be adventure racing. All I need now is a lake in the back garden!! I really do owe a debt of gratitude to my wife Yvonne for sticking with me on this journey of adventure, for pushing me on days when I said I couldn’t be bothered training, for testing the boundaries, pushing the limits, for opening The Home Of Adventure racing | 019



my eyes to my own potential which I didn’t know I had and for creating a competitive atmosphere in our house as to who did completed the best race or time on any race be that training or competition.. Advice for absolute beginners You will never be able to share the experience if you don’t do it! | 020

I know this is more of a quote but you have to experience adventure racing to get hooked on it. Firstly I would say don’t get intimidated by the longer race events. Try some of the shorter courses first and work yourself up if the bug sets in. If you do decide to enter a race the best investment is a pair of good trail runners.

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Teamwork makes the dream work


Blog of the




he big day beckons. You begin to zone in at the task on the horizon. You taper. You watch what you eat. You start to get more sleep. You make sure your kit is ready. You make sure nutrition is boxed off. Your bike gets a quick service. Your transport and accommodation is sorted. You have researched the race route. You are ready.

invisible racer which needs to be factored in.

So the most common term used in the usual build up is “You”. But for those of us with big person responsibilities like significant others and kids, there is an

And this does not just apply to race weekends, but the endless training sessions, the night runs, the Sunday cycles and everything else in between. | 022

Without the help and support of our non racing partners, let’s face it, it would make for a pretty unsatisfactory day. Our husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, grandparents who pick up the slack whilst we are gallivanting around all Ireland has to offer, it just wouldn’t happen.

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Racer In football terms, we often hear about the supporters being the extra man, well in adventure racing terms, that can often be the person who picks up the slack. Now, if you are reading this and would fall under the “Invisible Racer category”, and I am speaking from my own experiences, especially on race days, when it starts to get to tough, hurt and I have to dig deep, I always think of how lucky I am to have someone, who will pick up the pieces for me while I’m out here. You help. You drive me on. Knowing that you have sacrificed your time, your life and energy so i could line up at the starting post. Amazing strength, both physical & physiological, can be summoned, when you know you are not alone. When someone has your back. So don’t ever think it’s all about the guy in the dodgy tight racing kit, it’s not. It’s a team effort and we thank you…The Invisible Racer…



tay up to date with all the latest exciting adventure racing news from around the county. Join our ever growing news letter subscription. We promise not to clutter up your inbox. A monthly letter at most. Click here to join.

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DES MORIARTY & JIMMY HUSSEY captured moments before the off of the Art O'Neill Challenge

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Gear Review...Kind of...

GearReview: Start Yo




o do you have a group of friends who love to get out for a run, swim or cycle? Perhaps you would like something more formalised but don’t want to join a club. Why not start your own?

Over the last year or so we have noticed pockets of matching custom designed jerseys popping up at events throughout the country. We spoke to a group of guys who told us their story and how "37th Cycling Adventures" was born. | 026

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Your Own Club SO WHY CYCLING? Over the last few years, as our bodies started to fail under the rigours of astro football, some of us took up cycling. We are friends who have known each other since we were kids. In cycling terms I’d describe us as casual enthusiasts. WHY NOT JUST JOIN A CYCLING CLUB? I had looked into joining a formal cycling club before and been very impressed with the level of organisation but was hesitant about the commitment required and so never signed up. So, a WhatsApp group was the easiest way to go and that grew to contain about 8 friends who would go out for a weekend spin. WHERE DID THE IDEA TO START YOUR OWN GROUP COME FROM? Last July, I sent the group a random proposal, that we would go on a trip to Kerry for a 2-day cycle adventure. The basic plan was to drive to Killarney early one morning, park the cars, and cycle out the Beara peninsula, stopping along the way for a couple of swims and a seafood pub lunch. We would stay in Allihes hostel for the night, have a couple of pints and then return along an alternative route taking in the amazing Healy’s pass. Five of us were up for it and off we went. AND IT DEVELOPED FROM THERE? Yeah, the trip was great fun and discussions about our next trip began immediately. One of us put together a video of the trip, a name was given to the group and even a logo was designed. This led to the idea to get Jerseys made up. I came across a site call which has a cool 3D designer link which allows you to upload a logo, design and then order your own gear. It was quite easy, and the gear arrived 3 weeks after placing the order. We got sponsorship from the Irish Ski holiday company who paid for 10 jerseys and 10 cycling caps. All in, the cost was about 600 euro. WHERE DID THE NAME 37TH ADVENTURE CYCLES COME FROM The one thing that we all have in common is that as kids we were in the same scout troop, 37th Newpark. Our jerseys are the same colour as our neckerchief was. We also have the letter ‘Z’ on the sleeve and in the logo, in memory of a great friend of ours, Zebedee, who passed away aged only 30. The ‘Adventure’ refers to the unwritten policy that our trips need to include an element of adventure. We try to not to plan our trips in too much detail, allowing for a bit of improvisation along the way. This element adds a lot of fun that perhaps you wouldn’t get on a regular weekend 2-hour spin. WHAT’S NEXT? Since then we have had one other overnight cycling adventure, this time in the Wicklow mountains, staying the night in the wonderfully back-to-basics Glenmalure hostel and we are planning to go to the beautiful Inishowen peninsula in July. At some stage we would love to go to Europe for a few days cycling. More friends have come on board, so the group is growing nicely. SO STARTING YOUR OWN ACTIVITY GROUP, YOU RECOMMEND IT Definitely. Getting out into the great outdoors for a couple of days with close friends is fantastic. Good for the mind and body too. If you have friends with a common interest, then go for it. The Home Of Adventure racing | 027


E E R F S I ' T . . . E R U S N A W ' ! O C I G A R C D L U A F O T I B A S & T'I


THANK YOU!!! We say this every month but we sincerely mean it! Without you guys, All this could not happen... P.S. Please make sure to follow us on Facebook. Likes make all the hard work that little bit easier.

Photo captured by Aisling Brien. Beautiful Glendalough in all its glory.

Profile for Greg Dillon - Feb/Mar'19  

Your free monthly roundup of everything Adventure Racing and beyond. Essential reading for the outdoor enthusiasts. - Feb/Mar'19  

Your free monthly roundup of everything Adventure Racing and beyond. Essential reading for the outdoor enthusiasts.