Only around half of competitors expected to complete '24-hours of hell' in Donegal

Organisers this year’s ‘The Race’ in Donegal are expecting “not many more than half” of competitors to complete the course.

Billed as Ireland's toughest endurance challenge, close to 100 of the fittest and strongest men and women will endure what promises to be "24 hours of hell” this weekend.

The international field of competitors will set off from the starting line at Donegal's Glenveigh National Park at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning.

Established four years ago by endurance enthusiasts David Burns and Maghnus Smith - 'The Race' will include 250km of running, rafting and cycling across the rugged landscape of to be completed within a 24-hour time frame.

"We designed it to be hell, and we want it to be a challenge that people will come from far and wide to try," explains David Burns.

"It's for that reason that we first went to Donegal, and chose a time of year when the conditions were still tough and unpredictable, but there was at least going to be enough daylight to get the competitors most of the way around the course."

Competitors will start from Garten Adventure Centre in the picturesque Glenveigh National Park at 5am tomorrow (Saturday morning), and over the following day and night will be asked to complete 64km of road and trail running, 15km of kayaking along Lough Swilly, 166km of cycling, much of it along a coastal stretch around Bloody Foreland, and 5km of mountain running.

This year’s field includes athletes from the USA, UK and from across Europe, alongside some of the best known endurance athletes in Ireland.

Based on previous races, the organisers expect that significantly under two-thirds will finish the course, while the winner is expected to cross the finishing line at approximately the 15 hours mark.

Established as a charity fundraiser for international development organisation Gorta-Help Africa, the 2017 edition of ‘The Race’ is expected to raise more than €70,000 for the cause.

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