Annacurra 2010: Colm, Paul, Jakub,Liam, Con & Brid On Saturday last (Feb 6th), a good group of Sportsworld members made the trip down to the village of Annacurra near Aughrim, Co.Wicklow for the 2nd instalment of the IMRA Winter League. Although it was fairly miserable leaving Dublin, conditions on arrival in Annacurra were perfect – sunny but not too warm and much more importantly – no wind! The village itself was also perfectly set up for the race with the registration, the start and the pub for prize giving all within a few metres of each other. This led to everybody hanging around the one area which gave us a chance to check out the competition – unfortunately there was a lot of it. At 11am, the race began. 172 competitors in total. The course itself was 10.5km with a 420m climb thrown in for good measure. The first 3.5km were straight up to the summit on nice wide fire roads which gave plenty of opportunities for overtaking, or being passed, if like some of us you ran off like a hero at the start – only for your calves to give in after about 2km! First Sportsworld member to the top was Paul, followed by Jakub, Liam and myself who were running as a group cross country style at this point. From here, there was a 2km fast descent followed by another steep climb back up to the summit again. Paul was only visible at the summit as we reached the peak for the second time. Again, Liam and Jakub were way too close for comfort as I reached the top. A very fast descent of the original climb ensued back to the village [...]
Ticknock – IMRA Winter LeagueSunday, January 24th was a perfect day for hill running. It was sunny and the sky was clear so we could enjoy the scenery but it was cold enough not to get boiled at the ascent.At 11:00 after registration and quick warm up over 130 runners started to race. The course was a 10k loop with 417m climb. The first half was a long climb to the summit of Three Rock Mountain. Later when it leveled for couple of meters there were patches of wet snow which was a tiring surface to run on. Snow which has already melted turned paths into streams that we followed at the descent. There was also a tricky section where the logs and many branches were sticking out of water and you could easily slip. All these made the race challenging and exciting.Paul O’Connell was in a leading group from the start and won the race comfortably one minute before Eoin Brady from UCD. Another well experienced mountain goat Paul Mitchell (17 hill runs finished last year) began this hills season very well and finished 7th overall and 2nd in his age category. Together with Jakub Splawski in 23rd place Sportsworld won 3rd place in the team event.John Fitzgerald was 5th in M50 and Charlie O’Connell won M70 category.Sportsworld women Brid O’Higgins finished 2nd in F40 and Claire Rowley had a very good debut hill run too.Next hill run in Annacurra on February 6th. All welcome!More details on http://www.imra.ie/Report by Jakub
Irish Mountain Running Association Winter League 2010 The IMRA Winter League is a series of five races held on Saturdays/Sundays between January and March. The race routes are well marked and are generally between 7 and 10km in length with a mild to moderate climb. The races are very popular, typlically attracting a field of between 120 and 180 runners of all ages, colours, religions, sexes etc. The cost to enter a race is €7 per race plus an annual IMRA membership of €10. The Winter League is an ideal way to introduce yourself to trail running. The atmosphere is very friendly and welcoming and the majority of runners are there just to enjoy a trot, in fantastic scenery, in the company of like minded individuals. That said there is plenty of competition all through the field – some of the fiercest rivalries are in the M70 category where a little sculdugery is not unknown. Last year a number of us ran the Ran the Howth Winter Race (1st race in the Winter League) and ended up getting hooked. Your intrepid reporter ended up entering 17 races – and will be doing at least that number next year. Mr. Wall was our secret weapon in Howth getting to the top of the first hill in 3rd position and finishing in a very impressive 10th.Sean Wall, Howth Winter 2009 (photo by John Shiels, IMRA) Over the course of last year we had many enjoyable outings to IMRA races. Some of the regulars are shown below. Unfortunately the photo does not show Mr Kilgnanon who was last send heading south from Ticknock at high speed. We also had some ladies including Brid Higgins, Kate Healy and in [...]
On Saturday 25th July, Paul Mitchell and I made the trip to the Carlow/Wexford border for the IMRA Mount Leinster Hill race. Having not recced the race and only listening to Paul’s brief of the course it wasn’t a race I was looking forward to. The race brief was: 14km race, 635m ascend, 7km up hill, very poor underfoot conditions on the final 1km to the summit – but it’s all down hill after that!! We arrived at the start to be met by beautiful blue skies and temperatures in the high teens. Not perfect conditions for racing but at least the peak wasn’t covered in cloud. We set off at a moderate pace on fire road for about 2 km at a very light gradient. Off the fire road and on to the open mountain we continued on zig-zag trails. Underfoot conditions were slippy with streams flowing over the trail in numerous places. Paul and I worked well together up the mountain and we were to change lead many times before reaching the saddle between Mount Leinster and Black Mountain. From the saddle it was relatively flat for 300m and then a steep climb to the second last false peak before we would eventually reach the top. At this stage I had opened a gap of 50m on Paul but was well aware he would fly by me on the descent. We continued on to the last false peak before the top and were met with a welcome descent of around 500m – where as I had guessed Paul flew by me. I wasn’t long catching him however as the descent was short, and we started our final ascent, to the top of Mount [...]
From Irish Mountain Running 2009 A big congratulations from Sportsworld to Helen White who represented Ireland in the European Mountain Running Championships! On July 12th in Telfes, Austria, Helen and the Irish team took on some long and steep courses up against 300 athletes from 30 nations. The senior women’s race was 9.5km long with a climb of 950m. Helen qualified for the European Championships back on the 13th June and it should be noted this is only her debut season is mountain running! So well done to Helen on such an outstanding achievement! A race report by one of the Irish team managers, Gerry Brady, is published on the IMRA website here along with photos.