Page 1 ISSUE #7

OCT 2018

Your Home of Adventure Racing

Your Monthly Round up








on page 36


Oct 2018



Just a couple of words. Nothing to taxing I promise

Join the Club! Find out how much your fellow adventurer is training and much more... P.22 FREE STUFF! BOXES OF LIVEYPB BARS YUP. Thats right The awesome folk at LiveYPB are literally giving boxes away. P.24 GETTING OVER THE POST ULTRA FUNK The stroies have been told, the adrenaline has slowed and now the thoughts of exercise is the last thing you want to think about...







Photo by Johnatan Lee

See what's upcoming in October

Text by Steven Tompson


Winner Winner! Stephen Roe picks up this month's prize for best action shot! Papped here at Quest










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From the Editor


The Home Of Adventure Racing

From the Editor... Your feedback. It's invaluable.

ď ´ EMAIL US! If you would like us to focus on any race, training or gear related subjects or just need advice, please email us and we would be only too glad to help

It has been a crazy few months of racing and have been fortunate enough to have taken part in a right few races this year. From Inagural races to races that hold legendary status. The racing scene is going from strength to strength with massive plans already afoot for 2019. We regularly receive race based feedback and all sorts of inquiries, so please please keep them coming. Your feedback is invaluable. We pass this on where possible and event organisers are always open to feedback as they want to fine tune their respective events for next time around. Remember we hold your anonimity higher than a GDPR guideline. also receives feedback and we always try and implement changes where possible. If there is anything you would like us to focus on, anything we may have missed please reach out, we are big enough and definitely old enough to take it on board. Remember, we are here to try and improve your racing experience. The Home Of Adventure racing | 05

ď Ł

Photo Comp

The Entries Came In By The Dozen

And the winner is... THE ENTRIES came in by the bus load but unfortunately we could only have one winner.

There is a box of yummy Live YPB bars on there way to you thanks to the guys at Live Your Personel Best.

This issues winner is Stephen Roe snapped here at the Quest Achill. Another great photo taken by the guys of clearskiesahead. com

However, we have tried our best to display as many entries as possible throughout the magazine. So you might spot yourself somewhere. Also go to page 22 for our giveaway!

EMAIL YOUR PHOTOS You can email your Adventure Race Photos to SportNews | 6

WINNING PHOTO Courtesy of Category Goes Here

Category Goes Here

SportNews | 7

ď Ł

Event Guide

There is a race for everyone no matter what level you are at... ...with 37 races to choose from, from all over the country, running from February all the way through to November Sign up today!

SportNews | 8

Category Goes Here

t e



One StopShop ...for all your race information ONE OF OUR most popular features on our site is the Event Calendar. In the couple of years, the adventure racing scene in Ireland has exploded seeing up to 35 events being run nationwide without over 27000 entries. And these numbers are growing. You will find a comprehensive & up to date listing of all your favorite races the moment they are announced along with course maps, wave breakdowns and also a new registration links too . NEW FEATURE We will be introducing in the New Year a direct registration facility too, so

you can save your energy for the race and not having to spend your time clicking all the way around the internet and back to register for your favorite events. REGULAR FREE ENTRY DRAWS To date we have given away dozens of free entries to races spanning the four corners of this awesome country of ours. Make sure you are following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where you can keep informed about competitions and giveaways.

Your Essential Guide to Irish Adventure Racing FULL LISTING

Category Goes Here

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+35 Race in 2018. | 010


...just a sample of the races this ye

and some major new races to be a

...the n races

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announced very very soon

number of s this year The Home Of Adventure racing | 011

Upcoming Events Quest Killarney Date: Oct 6th Rated as one of the most scenic races on the calendar by many, this event offers 5 different routes, covering the Lakes of Killarney, The Gap of Dunloe, The Black Valley, Molls Gap and much more... A Calendar Favorite • 27K - Mini • 73K - Pro • 55K - Sport • 83K - Expert • 65K Dual Race info...

Tuff Inish Date: Oct 13th A brand new Ultra on the event guide. 132km across the wilds of Donegal in 12 hours. This promises to be a real physical and mental challenge, fuled by the spectacular scenery at every turn. 30.5 km run 86km cycle 5.5 Kayak

Race info...

SCAR Date: Oct 20th This Multi-discipline adventure race takes place in and around the breathtaking beauty and rugged environs of Skibbereen, Castletownshend, Lough Hyne and the wild Atlantic coastline that defines this stunning part of West Cork and Ireland. • 26K - Taster • 58.8K - Sport Race info... • 77.5k - Expert

...lots more new events to be announced, to stay up to date with all the latest Even | 012

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in October '18.

so make sure to follow us on Facebook nt announcements.... The Home Of Adventure racing | 013

20.10.18 EXPERT - 77.5KM SPORT - 58.8KM TASTER - 26KM

A special charity adventure race is back for it's fifth instalment.


he fifth annual Skibbereen Charity Adventure Race takes place this year on Saturday, October 20th and looks set to be the biggest yet with up to 600 competitors taking part. We took time out to talk to Sean Mahon, Race Director and member of Skibbereen Lions Club about why SCAR is a little different to most adventure races. The main thing that sets our race apart is that 100% of all competitor race fees goes to local charities and good causes in and around West Cork as the event was originally created and is now organised by a special race team from Skibbereen Lions Club. Around 6 years ago a few of us in the Lions club were getting involved in cycling, running and kayaking events and even the odd triathlon. At the same time we were looking for new fundraising ideas for Skibbereen Lions Club and the idea was floated, by fellow member, Ciaran Dillane, of putting on our own adventure race where all entry fees go to local good causes. It was challenging in year one but we learnt a lot about the logistics




and forward planning required when putting on such an event and things went fairly smoothly. The idea seemed to be a popular one from the start because 5 years later and with with the help of loads of local volunteers, we've attracted over 2,000 competitors and to date have raised more than â‚Ź100,000 for charity and good causes which is wonderful and we sincerely thank all the local businesses, volunteer marshals and voluntary organisations that have supported us. I also must thank our sponsor Carbery Group and of course everyone who has entered over the last 5 years. Finally, I must acknowledge all the hard work that the lads in the SCAR/ Skibbereen Lions Club team put in every year to organise the race and make sure

that competitor and marshal safety comes first. SCAR is a multi-discipline adventure race and is on the National Adventure series for Ireland. The race starts and finishes just outside Skibbereen and takes place in beautiful West Cork with routes that weave their way through stunning and challenging Wild Atlantic Way coastal locations such as Castletownshend, Union Hall, Toe Head, Tragumna and Europe's largest saltwater lake, Lough Hyne. If you've never been down to this neck of the woods or fancy a different challenge I can guarantee you a warm welcome, incredible scenery and a solid challenge. What can you expect? Well, the race has


SCAR - SKIBBEREEN CHARITY three courses which appeal to all levels and abilities. They are the 'Expert' (79.5km: running,18km, biking 60k, kayak 1.5km) which from personal experience I can assure you will give you a good run out! 'The Sport' (53.5km: running 12km, biking 40km, kayak 1.5km) which is a great distance for pushing yourself hard and the the 'Taster' (26km: running 6km, biking, 20km) which had been really popular with those wanting to try adventure racing for the first time or who simply enjoy the shorter distance. The Sport and Expert courses are designed to attract the more serious racers from around the country, with several racers joining us from the UK. They will get to pit themselves against some of the country’s top adventure racers and tri-athletes on the day.’ The Expert and Sport both have some nice hills included, if that's your thing, both for the run and cycle sections. We incorporate trail running on forest paths, cycling along cliff top roads and through coastal villages, incredible views out to the Atlantic and Cape Clear and Sherkin Islands respectively and kayaking on Lough Hyne which is a really special place and one of the many jewels in West Cork's crown. You'll love it! We'd love to see you on Saturday October 20th and remember 100% of your entry fee will be helping good causes' Places are going fast for this year's SCAR event. Full details can be found at www. and on facebook.

TASTER- 26K BREAKDOWN Run 6 km – Cycle 20 km The TASTER starts in Castlehaven GAA with a 6 km Out and In run, followed by a 20 km bike loop starting and finishing in the Castlehaven GAA grounds with a short sprint over the finish line.

SPORT - 58.8K BREAKDOWN STAGE 1 TRAIL AND ROAD RUN (15.5KM) Run 6 km – Cycle 22 km – Run 7 km – Kayak 1.5 km – Cycle 22 km The SPORT starts in Castlehaven GAA with a 6 km Out and In RUN, followed by a 22 km BIKE to the Bike Drop in Lough Hyne, where you begin the anticlockwise 7 km


SCAR - SKIBBEREEN CHARITY Lough Hyne Forest Loop RUN. After descending the famous steps you will begin the 1.5 km KAYAK (in double sit on top kayaks). After the Kayak you will collect your bike and head on the second 22 km BIKE back to Castlehaven GAA grounds finishing with a short sprint over the finish line.

EXPERT - 77.5K BREAKDOWN STAGE 1 TRAIL AND ROAD RUN (15.5KM) Run 12 km – Cycle 35 km – Run 7 km – Kayak 1.5 km – Cycle 22 km The EXPERT starts in Castlehaven GAA with a 12 km Castle Loop RUN, followed by a 35 km BIKE to the Bike Drop in Lough Hyne, where you begin the anticlockwise 7 km Lough Hyne Forest Loop RUN. After descending the famous steps you will begin the 1.5 km KAYAK (in double sit on top kayaks). After the Kayak you will collect your bike and head on the second 22 km BIKE back to Castlehaven GAA grounds finishing with a short sprint over the finish line. NOTE: EXPERT and SPORT Course participants will earn points for the MSAI National Series. All starts are from Castlehaven GAA Grounds with registration and bike rack on Saturday morning only.

PICS & CAPTIONS SCAREJ17 : Credit Emma Jervis - 'The kayak stage takes place on the stunning Lough Hyne' SCAR COD3 : Credit Charlie O'Donovan - 'Some of the country's top Adventure Racers have competed in SCAR' SCARGM14 : No credit reqd - 'The infamous "Wall' on the Sport and Expert course cycling stage' SCARGM19 : No credit reqd - 'SCAR welcomes you to West Cork'


<< F R E E S T U F F >>

COMPETITION TIME! We mentioned on our Facebook page we would be giving away free Live YPB bars to those quick off the blocks!


re you one of them? We have been testing them out and they are great! This is not a promotional plug. If they were not, we would tell you straight up. So we are so excited to pass on the word. So how do you get your hands on them. Simple!

We have another totally awesome giveaway · First 15 entries receive a coupon code for free box of bars · Next 15 entries receive a coupon code for 75 % off · Next 15 entries receive a coupon code for 50% off All you have to do is email with your name and address and if you are quick enough, you will receive one of the above prizes. | 022

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Tips & Tricks

Ways to Get Over the Post Ultra Blues


ou have completed your first Ultra! You rock! You are on top of the world. You have regaled your step by step account to countless millions. Life is amazing! But what happens next has caught even the

most experienced racer out. It's natural. You have exhausted yourself both physically and mentally. After a while the plaudits stop coming in, the muscles begin to feel heavy and tired, the old grey matter begins to feel demotivated and your corner sofa

is beginning to swallow you up. Before you know it, you're in a funk with no motivation and the thoughts of even stretching for your phone to order yet another pizza becomes an exertion that feels like that would surpass the efforts expelled during your Ultra. WELL FEAR NOT! Here are some easy ways to help you get back in the game. most experienced racer out. It's natural.


There seems to be an endless stream of fun/novelty runs popping up all over the country. Try something that is a bit of craic that won't put you under too much physical duress. Park runs/Color runs/ zip lining/orienteering/rock climbing/Go karting...something/anything. Just get active again without the competitive edge been thrown in the mix. | 024

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Mind Games


You have broke your backside doing these for what must have seemed an eternity so you could kick ass in your Ultra whilst most likely sacrificing quality time with your loved ones. There was probably an unspoken trade off. "I'll support you while you train/race, but when it's over it's my time". Some much needed r'n'r in the sun or whatever floats "their" boat is just what the doctor ordered.


You have completed your first ever Ultra, let the world know. Whether it is a race t-shirt, a jacket, a buckle, wear it! If it's going to collect the kids from football, going shopping, doing a park run, WEAR IT! Those who know what it means, will give you their silent respect, those who don't may ask what its about, and you can sit back and watch their jaws drop when you explain in surgical detail the mileage and altitude you had to clock up to earn one of those bad boys.

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Sign up to another race. Set yourself another goal. An achievable one. It may not have to be an Ultra. Tame it back! This will keep you hungry. You are giving yourself something to aim for. There is nothing more boring than training just for the sake of it. Reassess, realign and refocus! Before you know it, you will have the excel spreadsheet out and you will be speaking in the language of training schedules once again.


Remember that new trail that you have always wanted to do but never got around to because it wouldn't have fit in with your training regime, do it! The thoughts of going back over those same roots can be mentally bruising. You don't have to run the new trail, hike it, spend a day at it, relax, regenerate and fill those lungs. | 025


06.10.18 MINI: 25KM SPORT: 55KM DUEL: 65KM PRO: 73KM ELITE: 83KM

QUEST KILLARNEY The Gap of Dunloe, Torc Waterfall, Mangerton, The Lakes

of Killarney, Kate Kearney's Cottage, The Black Valley... The list goes on as to why this event sells out year after year.


ver 1,800 adventurers will come to Killarney to compete in a sold out adrenalin-packed day by running, cycling and kayaking across some of the most dramatic and breath-taking scenery in Ireland.

With 5 stunning routes to choose from, routes encompass the Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View, and the iconic Torc Waterfall. Now in its 8th year, Quest Killarney Adventure Race continues to attract Irelands top endurance athletes and competitors from around the world, for one of the must do events of the year. The event will be preceded by an expo for participants on Friday night before the race. Come along to hear all about Quest 12/24, how this year went down, what training and prep goes into it for participants. There will be a panel of speakers who took part in the race or were involved in the development of the event. A must-attend for anyone thinking of taking it on in 2019! It will be going live on FB for those of you who can't attend. After a challenging race, competitors and spectators can enjoy a festival like atmosphere, music, hot food, and after party in the Gleneagle Hotel. Each competitor receives a customised finisher medal and Quest-branded hoodie. Spectators are welcome to come out to the Gleneagle Hotel to encourage competitors as they cross the finish line and to be part of the fun. Best of luck to all participants and thank you to all who have been involved in making this an epic day of adventure!


QUEST KILLARNEY Earlier this year we posted a blog piece on

In 2017, a new 4km off road bike section

the 10 toughest mountains to tackle on

was added to the 55km route (see picture

the Adventure racing circuit in Ireland. One

on previous page). A number of questions

glaring omission was Mangerton. The 10

have come in from first timers and having

were discussed by a group of experienced

completed this route last year, I can confirm

racers over a few post-race pints and

this is a great addition. A road bike will

Mangerton hadn’t been mentioned. For my

do the trick here. It's a mixture of gravelly

sins, I’m going to experience first-hand this

pathway, muddy puddles and fire road. It's

beast of a mountain (See elevation map

stable enough terrain to take whatever

of the Expert route below). It's the highest

weather the wild Atlantic way throws at

spike... Live by the sword... 83k here we

it. A great spot for a trail run the day after

come! We will keep you updated in next

to blow off the cobwebs of your previous

month’s edition!

days/nights excesses.





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t s b e rfe



TUFF INISH A new ultra awaits. Are you Tuff enough to complete it!


tarting at 7am Saturday 13th October brings a brand new and exciting 12 hour adventure race. Tuff Inish is a 132k race around the scenic Inishowen area of North Donegal. We spoke to Andrew Wallace about the upcomng race

This event is also the perfect “stepping stone” for The RACE 2019, same sequence, halved distances and a matching level of difficulty and endurance and an abundance of scenery. This would be a good “tester” of your ability if like myself you intend to take on “The Race” in 2019. Quest Killarney would be my biggest race any year so this will be a whole new ball game as they say. The course is tough, really tough hence the name and is created by Harold Mc Guinness of Extreme North Events here in Inishowen. Knowing the course already just by local knowledge I can vouch for its toughness and if you take time to lift your head the views are breath-taking especially up at Mamore and



DONEGAL...CHALLENGING KER ROUTE BREAKDOWN up Kinnego. I’m a frequent traveller around the country and have no problem driving to Dingle or Killarney to race so anyone reading this please do think about it and make the trip north, you wont be disappointed! Make a weekend out of it and enjoy the area, Moville has some great wee bars too. His medals are famous at this stage so don’t miss out. With a 62km full course and a 43km sprint course on offer both routes takes you from the jagged peaks of Glenveagh National Park via the bog and scree of Mount Errigal to the sweeping sandy beaches of Bunbeg.

The terrain includes rough tracks, mountain scree, trails, sealed roads, shimmering lakes and sand dunes. STAGE 1 RUN







GREENCASTLE Tuff Inish has an early dawn start from Moville Celtic Club house up thru’ Moville town with spectacular views over the Causeway Coast from 5k before the before the decent into Shroove and onto Greencastle and T1.

STAGE 2 KAYAK – 5.5KM KAYAK / GREENCASTLE – MOVILLE Starting from Greencastle Pier the Kayaking will take place along the West Bank of Lough Foyle. Kayaks will be sit-on-top kayaks. Paddles and Life jackets supplied. Kayaks will not have seats but competitors can opt to have their own seats and be


personally responsible for fitting same to kayak. STAGE 3 CYCLE 1 – 55.0KM ROAD CYCLE / MOVILLE – KINNEGO – CULDAFF – MALIN – BALLYLIFFIN – CLONMANY – MAMORE GAP The elevation profile below illustrates this route better than words can so just add in some windy spells along this rugged coastal route. You’ll witness some of the most amazing scenery as you climax numerous vantage points along the route. Save your energy for a tough final 0.5k ascend to Car Park at Mamore T3/4. Mamore Gap is an iconic climb and the RAS always takes in this when its in the area. You’ll be glad of the “wee break” for the climb ahead.

STAGE 4 MOUNTAIN – 5.5KM MOUNTAIN TRAIL/TREK Starting with first half on trail then onto a rocky heather climb to the top of Raghtin Beag at just under 3k. Hopefully mist free and taking a few minutes to be amazed at the panoramic vista all around, then back to transition T3/4


decent into Shroove and onto Greencastle and T1.

STAGE 5 CYCLE 2 – 31KM ROAD CYCLE / OVER MAMORE – DUNREE – COCKHILL – BALLYMAGAN – GLENTOGHER Starting with a really tough 1k climb up past the grotto and over Mamore, then a more relaxed cycle into Buncrana. The final section from Ballymagan to Glentogher is hillier than it appears, hence the slower than expected pedal on narrow roads and sometime poorly tarred surface. STAGE 6 RUN 2 – 22.5KM RUN, ROAD/TRAIL / GLENTOGHER – LOUGH INN – CROCK – BALLYLAWN – COOLEY – GLENCROW – FINISH IN MOVILLE Starting on trail, check out the Elevation profile below for the 2 other trail sections. Lots of turns and twists but compensated with fantastic scenery at numerous vantage points and despite a few climbs this is predominantly a descending gradient on mostly quite rural routes with a final 3km downhill and back to the Finish at Moville Celtic Club House. Job Done! Tuff-Inish promises to be a real physical and mental challenge, fueled by the spectacular scenery at every turn and twist of the course. The hilly Donegal landscapes and unpredictable


Autumn weather will be a major player in the unpredictable outcome over all 6 stages to an exhilarating and Tuff Finish. Tuff-Inish has a 12 hour cut-off and can be completed Solo or in teams of 2 or 3 so if your not into Adventure racing this is also a decent challenge for a runner / cyclist team. The event will start and finish in Moville

TEAMS - Teams can be 2 or 3 person teams. Teams can alternate at whatever stages they choose and only 1 team member allowed in any stage. Teams will be responsible for their own transport between stages. All enquiries regarding entries to Harold McGuinness Email: Telephone: 00353862374644


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Tips & Tricks


Thoughts that go first time advent You have signed up for your first race. Adventure racing is as much about mental strength as it physical prowess


ou have now gone through the "bricking it and regret" p r e - r a c e phase. You will most likely be about to experience an avalanche of emotions. Enjoy the rollercoaster!

1. I have this in the bag. 2. Crap no first aid kit. 3. I'll just smile, make minimal eye contact and hope they never notice. 4. I'm in! No backing out now. Let’s do this. 5. My race kit is worst looking kit ever. 6. Did I pack enough gels? 7. YEEEHAAAWW! Mo Farrah your days are numbered! 8. OK I'm still holding | 042

my own. 9. Who am I kidding, time to slow down. 10. Uh oh, post registration pints last night were such a bad idea. 11. I left the car open, I left the heat on, did I pay my phone bill or health insurance. 12. So, if I do 20km per hour on the bike, this section will take 35mins which if I divide E=mc2 by the square root of an isosceles triangle indeed confirms I possibly should have trained more maybe… 13. Time for a drink. 14. Crap, I hope I haven't left it too late for a drink. 15. Maybe I should eat. How much should I eat? 16. I really should have practiced eating in

training. 17. Wonder will the weather hold off. 18. A kayak...Do I sit up front or back? 19. He looks like he knows what he might be doing, I’ll try and sponge a lift off him. 20. I really don’t want to get my feet wet... Dammit! 21. OK I'm doing it. Kayaking is actually not that hard, just don't ask me to turn this boat thing I'm sitting on around. 22. This is beautiful out here 23. Just no sudden movements please, I can’t swim for crap. 24. And back to shore… Hey you in waders, drag my boat back into dry land please. The Home Of Adventure Racing


Mind Games


o through every ture racers head


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25. Feet wet time again. 26. Squelch squelch squelch! 27. Why do my legs feel heavier than tree trunks? 28. Is that cramp I feel coming? 29. Oh sweet jebus, look at that hill. 30. OK I got this. One foot in front of the other. It’s a simple formula, right? 31. Why do my legs feel heavier than tree trunks...again? 32. Gels! That’s what will get me up to the top…apparently 33. I made it to the top!!! OMG Look at

those views. So worth the climb. 34. All downhill from here...yahooo. 35. OMG my quads are on fire...slow down! 36. Why am I getting stomach cramps…bloody gels! 37. What ever possessed me to enter this blooming race in the first place? 38. Transition...and rest. 39. Never again! 40. Actually, I look fresher than some of the others at transition, I must be rocking it. 41. Just one more section to go. 42. Dammit, I don’t remember my saddle being made from granite. 43. Head down. I can do this. Next stop finish line. 44. I’m actually going to finish this. 45. I can see the finish line. Time to straighten up for cameras. 46. BOOOOOM! I did it! 47. Hold back the tears. 48. Never again! 49. I need a pint. 50. Where do I sign up? | 043


Email us for more details: | 044

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E E R F S I ' ...T E R U S ! C I GO'WAN A R C LD U A F O T I B A S & T'I | 046

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UTMB - CCC - L There are times in your life that you realise how much we all change as life goes on.

LONAN O'FARRELL There are times in your life that you realise how much we all change as life goes on.


TMB. Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc. Trail runnings pinnacle. It literally does not get bigger than this. Seasoned Adventure Racer, Ultra runner Lonan O'Farrell took on this beast. WARNING SIGNS. Now here I was, standing on the start line of one of the most iconic ultramarathons on the planet, The CCC (Courmayeur- Campex lacChamonix), Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, only a few rows back from the pros. The thoughts running through my head were incredible. The most important thing I was telling myself was to ease into it, remember all my experience and enjoy the day. The memories of long races such as, The Race, a multisport adventure race in Donegal, and The Wicklow Way Race came flooding back. I knew this would be another 15 hours plus and it was time to use all that experience to cross the finish line. I would have crew support in the The Home Of Adventure racing | 049



latter stages and I had the chance to race with fantastic runners, like Owen Boyhan, my trail running buddie also doing the CCC. He has completed multi day adventure races such as ITERA and The Beast in Ireland and ran in races all around Europe. We had fun discussing our tactics in the lead up. If anything, our adventure racing background was a great hardening for taking part in races such as this one in the Alps. Emma, my partner, would be at designated aid stations, and Sinead and Kieron (ultrarunning buddies), would make up the crew. Being honest I thought a crew might help but never as much as it turned out. Thursday was spent in Chamonix, registering along with 2147 other athletes. We spent the rest of the day eating and chilling before an early night in preparation for the race Friday. Before I launch into the | 050

race report I want to mention something that was said to me by a few supporters. They said that no matter what you tell people, there are no words to explain what these races are really like, what they do to the competitors and what the feeling of finishing is like. You need to see these races or experience racing them to really get the idea. I will try to put in words what my day was like on the 31st of August 2018. We hopped on the first bus at 6am to arrive in Courmayeur, Switzerland at 6.45am. The morning was calm, about 12 degrees and dry. The mountains loomed on every side of this beautiful alpine town and the buzz was gradually building. I have to say I was relaxed, excited and the body was feeling very much like a run. I soon noticed that I would be in the first wave alongside the elites and the pros. I was standing somewhere in the 200-300 group as we The Home Of Adventure Racing

lined up (This is decided by your ITRA points from qualification races. Basically, to do with where you finished in these races, therefore it tends to be accurate in terms of where you stand). If you compare it to an Adventure Race in Ireland it is a bit like all the waves lining up one after the other. The first wave, including myself would go 15 minutes before the second to try ease congestion on the course. The crowd gathered, and the anthems of Switzerland, France and Italy were played as the tension really started to build. The race, of course passing through all three countries over the route. Emotions were running high. It may take years of preparation or be a life goal for many to stand on that line. I was buzzing to get on the move. TV helicopters and drones

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hovered above. Before I knew it, the countdown was on and the gun went off. This was really happening and now all I had to do was put one foot on front of the other for somewhere between 14 and 27 hours, 101 kilometres and 6100 metres of ascent. Timing and places quickly went out of my head as I decided to race the first half without going into the red at any stage and hopefully be in a position to improve on my placing as the race progressed. Whether this would unfold or not was a mystery. From the outset my nutritional plan was to stay away from gels, eat and drink almost only Tailwind and hopefully be hungry enough in aid stations later in the race, | 051


UTMB - CCC to eat some real food. From the off, I sipped away on my bottles, drinking lots, ingesting the Tailwind in my water and therefore taking in calories (200 per sachet), as well as lots of electrolytes. The first 10km of the race were basically uphill with a few little runnable narrow trails. From the start we ran along the streets of Courmayeur and up along a winding road before stepping onto the single trail in a conga line. The crowds along the road in Courmayeur and pretty much in every town all day were incredible. As we arrived at the

single trail, I quickly took out my poles. We gradually climbed from 1000 metres all the way to 2500. Listen to your body is the name of the game. Up and up and up we went, above the treeline, checking out the town of Courmayeur below, now in the distance. It was just amazing. As we started the final 500 metres of the climb, the live camera helicopter hovered over us throwing dust all over the mountainside and creating an unusual atmosphere. After about two hours I was on the top of Tete de la Tronche. The downhill was fast, but I did hold back as I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to burn the legs too early. I stopped in Bertone,15km in, for some orange slices, watermelon, a snickers and topped up all my water with Tailwind. The next 7 km was along nice rolling terrain, technical in parts but I ran most of it and the field was starting to spread out into little groups. The views as we arrived at Refuge Bonati were spectacular with a vast line of massive steep mountains to the left of the trail. Small climbs meant slowing down and hiking and then rolling off the top of them and onto the winding, runnable, trails again. I was half way down the next valley, when I went to suck some water and found that one of my soft flasks was gone. Would I be running another 75km with only one water bottle. Slight panic set in, but I soon calmed myself. I cruised down to Arnouvaz at 27km. I came across a big heard of alpine cattle on the trail and took a slight detour around them, | 052

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not knowing how pleased they were with all these mad people on their territory. Running at elevation, with climbs like these was causing me to lose fluids the instant I consumed them. I decided that I wanted to be sweating all day. If I was sweating I was hydrated, if not I was running out of fluids. Logical, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen it go wrong before. Just before arriving at the checkpoint I spotted a soft flask on the side of the trail. Karma you might say but I was back to two bottles! After Arnouvaz I ran along the river and at a crossing there were dozens of kids out cheering us on. As I approached the far side of the river, the guy on front of me fell and I landed on his back on the ground. Hilarious for the kids. I picked him up and on we went. It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t long before the second big climb of the day. I locked into gear and started to fast hike as best I could. It turned out that my hiking uphill was steady and would continue this way all day. I felt strong, as I was holding back a bit. All the hill repeat training was paying off. The top of this second climb, called Grand Col Ferret at around 2500 metres is on the border of Italy and Switzerland. After about 2200 metres the weather changed, and I had my jacket on. I passed a good few people on this climb, enjoying it a lot. It was after summitting Col Ferret, with barely a view of your feet, that I started to feel the legs burning. The descent was full of switch backs, running on hard mud and then much more technical towards the bottom. I passed through a scanning checkpoint half way down and from this point on the trail got steeper and started to take a toll. Towards the bottom of this 11km descent the rain was starting to pour, and I was slowing down. La Fouly, The Home Of Adventure racing | 053 | 054

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at the end of the first marathon of the day, was wet and busy. Some people were changing clothes, but I decided it was only 17km until my first assistance checkpoint at Champex. We were also descending a lot over that 17km with one climb up to Champex. It was like a soft Irish day after all, nothing out of the ordinary. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop when you feel a bit low, get going and run it off. The marathon had taken me almost 6 hours, meaning I was bang on where I wanted to be. I had no idea at the time, but I was around 204th position overall. I had decided early in the race, on seeing the type of climbing and the terrain involved that today was about finishing, maintaining as good a pace as my body would let and learning for the future. I had suffered similar lows in adventure races. From La Fouly to Champex an old pain behind my left knee, floating down my leg, was flaring up. On | 056

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I went on paved roads, through tiny little farm villages. I began to lose some places. After about 12km of downhill, I could see Champex up on the hill and realised that a 500 metre climb would bring me to food and the company of my crew. Bring it on. It was great to see Emma, and she informed me I was looking fresh and in great shape. I ate a small bowl of meat and pasta and drank some water. I changed my wet top and put on a new t-shirt. I emerged from the tent, a new man. I gained 8 places in leaving the checkpoint in good time. Sinead ran with me along the crystal-clear lake beside Champex. She told me “your race starts here, this is when you come into your own, we will see you again in 18km”. These words were hard to believe as I really wasn’t sure I had it in me like that, but I took them in and decided if Sinead, an accomplished runner, had this faith in me, it must be true. Right, let the race begin!

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UTMB - CCC After a kilometre or two on the road I was back on the trail before the next 1000 metre climb started. I was in the middle of a few strong climbers, which helped. This climb was relentless, steep and technical. The inside of my elbows started to cramp. I had told myself that once at the top I had more than half the days climbing in the bag. This climb and the next few were all in the forest. The summits were just above the tree line at around 2000 metres. I climbed watching the altitude rise on my watch. I was counting it down 100 metres at a time, still feeling strong on the up and hoping the downhill leg pain might ease with the break. At La Giete, the top of the climb, I had gained 11 places, not that I really knew this, but I did know I was starting to move well again. I was drinking a huge amount of Tailwind. The volunteers here were dancing around to music and having fun. They had been amazing at every stop all day and this was a lift to people. They told us there was a 5 kilometre descent over 600 metres to Trient. My next chance to see Emma, change, eat and get ready for darkness. My leg was fine on the descent until the last 200 metres on the fire road. The light was fading but I knew I was timing it nicely before it died completely. I arrived in Trient, filling my water up on the way in, with Sinead running alongside me. Emma was set up and ready in the tent and I told her I was feeling well and felt I had smashed that last section. She got me some tea with sugar, hot soup with rice and I changed into my thermal top and headlight for the night ahead. I ran out of Trient as the light was starting to | 058

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fade. A long straight path followed and then into a 700 metre climb, similar to the last one. I was starting to pass people as the climb took me just over an hour. I arrived at Tseppes at 8.40pm, 11 hours and 40 minutes of racing and at the 76km mark. Who would expect the second marathon was more comfortable than the first. Keeping those positive thoughts flowing is one of the biggest challenges of any endurance event. The reality was that I was just about staying out of the red and had to push harder on the climbs to keep pace. It was impacting me, and I was really feeling the brunt of all the downhill. My leg was now screaming. I was unable to descend fast, but I could run most of it which was positive. Lots of zig zagging, running under bridges and along footpaths followed. My headlight had been poor since I switched it on near the top of the climb and my plan was to switch to my other headlight in Vallorcine, before leaving on my final push to the finish. Emma was waiting and explained that they had barely made it on time to meet me. The fact that they had made it was a big boost. Once again being fed and watered, helped a great deal, not to mention the fact that I only had 18km to the finish line in Chamonix. I left Vallorcine and switched on my new headlight. The previous descent had been so tough, not only with the pain in my leg but with the technical trail that I could barely see. I was psyched up now, the finish line in sight. The trail wound up a gradual slope on a farm road from Vallorcine, onto a long stretch of main road before starting the climb from Tre Le Champ to La Flegere. I was unaware that this was split into two big climbs. The climbs were extremely steep. Mighty craic when your legs have little left. The fun part was the descent after the first climb. Jumping over boulders and massive roots, loose rock and the odd trail runner! The second climb followed a ski field all the way up to La Flegere. It was midnight and the stars were out. My whole body wanted to stop, but I knew I just needed to throw myself 900 metres and 8 kilometres off this mountain. I had been semihallucinating for the last hour, but with a cup of tea, I was off again. With 6082 metres of climbing under your belt you would think a little 8km to a finish line would be a piece of cake. Well, not so much. As many of you know, even a 500 metre run off the bike seems like an eternity at the end of an adventure race. This was the case over this 8km and pretty much every step hurt like hell. The Home Of Adventure racing | 059



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I was, however, still running. The trail passed through a restaurant, literally through the outdoor seating area, closed at 12.30am of course and on down the mountain I went. I finally came to the town and bridge number one of two crossings of the railway and river. An obstacle course just for good measure. I ran along the river, before reaching the centre of town and there was Emma to run the final 500 metres home. The relief was amazing. Sinead and Kieron were following me, I saw the line and then my parents on the side. Holding back the emotions, too tired to cry, I crossed the line 16 hours and one minute since leaving Courmayeur. I was in 163rd position making up 40 places in the second half. That was pure madness, but one hell of an experience. It had worked, my pacing was a success, my training got me around and I feel I still have so much to improve on. It is such a fragile thing running 100km. You really donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what is coming next. I am learning that experience is the key, but you can never be over confident. The body will shut you up in a heartbeat. The mind will continue to do somersaults.

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How much should I train? This is one of the most frequent questions we receive!!! It was one of the questions I definitely asked when I first started up in this adventure racing lark. I hadn't a clue. Hadn't a clue of how far I should be running. Where I should be running i.e. field, road, trails. Bike...much the same. Flat, hills, rough terrain. Not a bog's notion. I naturally reached out to those more seasoned veterans of the sport and they were always more than willing to help with advice and pointers. I found it invaluable when it came to training, race preparation and ultimitely a better overall race experience. Now we, the team at Kayathlon, and believe us when we say are constently being asked the very questions I was seeking answers for all those years ago. We reguraly post proactive and reactive blog on these questions in a hope to shed more light so you can enjoy and get the most out of your time training. Another outlet of information we have created is our Strava Club page. With over 130 fellow adverture racers in the melting pot, you can see what sort of training they are doing. The frequency of training and discover new and alternative training routes. The latter being an essential component | 062

of successful training. By varying your routes, it will keep you engaged, interested and most importantly, it will keep it fun. There are loads of great facilities available on the app including: SEGMENTS These little beauties are great. A segment is a stretch of trail that is regularly covered by fellow athletes and clocked. Your competitive side may try and top the segment and get the coveted KOM status. WEEKLY BREAKDOWN There is a weekly chart that will add up how much training you are doing and how it compares to your fellow Adventure Racer. GROUP CHAT There is also a group chat facility. So e.g. if you are looking for a route map of an upcoming map, ask! There is a strong likelihood someone in the group will share it to you. From time to time, informal pre race training days are put up from group members. Another great way to meet like minded outdoor enthusiasts! So Join up today. It's free! h t t p s : / / w w w. s t r a v a . c o m / c l u b s / Kayathlon The Home Of Adventure Racing

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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. | 070

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The Home Of Adventure racing | 071 - Oct'18 Issue  

Our October Issue is now available. In an action packed month, we have another wedged issue with articles including Race Previews: Quest Ki... - Oct'18 Issue  

Our October Issue is now available. In an action packed month, we have another wedged issue with articles including Race Previews: Quest Ki...