VIDEO: ‘Record numbers’ of 2,500 take on Killarney Adventure Race

The largest event of its kind in the world, Killarney Adventure Race, welcomed record numbers of 2,500 participants this year.

The event attracted adventure enthusiasts from around the world to the picturesque tourist town of Killarney.

Killarney Adventure Race takes the title of largest event of its kind in the world and was voted Ireland’s best outdoor event in 2014.

The race is organised by an events company based in Killarney called Elite Event Management who started the Killarney Adventure Race five years ago with 500 participants.

Elite Events Race Director, Catriona O’Callaghan, said, “Yet again another year has gone fantastically. For the five years in a row we’ve had phenomenal weather and there’s a great atmosphere here at the INEC. It’s now the largest event of its kind in the world with record numbers of 2,500 this year.”

On the morning of the race, participants arrived to their wave times and waited anxiously at the start line to begin their adventure.

For many, it was their first experience of an adventure race and participants were full of excitement, nerves, anticipation and adrenaline.

As Catriona O’Callaghan said at the beginning of each wave, “If you don’t come back muddy and wet then you haven’t taken part in the race. It’s an adventure race so that’s what it’s all about.”

No doubt people followed Ms O’Callaghan’s advise to get stuck in as those who crossed the finish line looked as though they took full advantage of the tough course.

First three competitors to cross the finish line at Killarney Adventure Race.

Throughout the race participants were friendly and helpful toward one another and although it was a race, there was a real sense of team spirit and encouragement from everyone involved, from the participants themselves, to the stewards and the organisers.

Killarney Adventure Race took place in some of Ireland’s most remote and iconic locations including the Gap of Dunloe, the Black Valley, Molls Gap and Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park. Competitors enjoyed panoramic views across the entire Killarney National Park.

The gruelling race consisted of five different routes which catered all levels of fitness with two new routes added just this year.

The different routes on offer were the 27km Sport route, 48km Dual route, 50km Semi-Pro route, 60km Pro route and the 70km Expert route.

The 70km route consisted of a 7km mountain run up and over Strickeen mountain, a fast 35km cycle, a 1.5 km kayak around Muckross Lake, a 19km run of Mangerton Mountain ascending to the Devil’s Punchbowl, and a final 6km cycle to the finish line at the Gleneagle Hotel.

The 60km consisted of a 7km run up and over Strickeen mountain, a 35km cycle, a 1.5km kayak around Muckross Lake, a 9km run ascending to viewing point at Barr na Currane and a 6km cycle to the finish line at the Gleneagle Hotel.

From left to right: Marie Moriarty, Katie Ellard and Grace Crowley complete Killarney Adventure Race.

The 50km consisted of a 35km cycle through the Gap of Dunloe, a 1km kayak around Muckross Lake, an 8km run up to viewing point at Barr na Currane and a 6km cycle to the finish line at the Gleneagle Hotel.

The 48km route consisted of a 35km cycle through the Gap of Dunloe, a 7km forest track run up to a viewing point at Barr na Currane and a final 6km cycle back to the finish line at the Gleneagle Hotel.

The 27km route consisted of an 11k cycle starting at the Gleneagle Hotel which took participants along a cycle route around Muckross House in Killarney National Park, a 1.5 km kayak around Muckross Lake, an 8km forest run including the ascend of the famous ‘Cardiac Steps’ and a 6km cycle to the finish line at the Gleneagle Hotel. 

Race Director, Oliver Kirwan, said “the race takes months of planning and the team here at Elite Events Management are an innovated group who are passionate about the outdoors.”

“The race would not have been possible without the help of the people of Killarney, the National Parks, sponsors, marshals and the Civil Defence,” Mr Kirwan told the Irish Examiner.

Owner of race sponsor, the Great Outdoors, Ken Costigan, said, “This is our second year acting as the retail partner for Killarney Adventure Race. We know a lot of people taking part in the race and people here are our customers. We cover a lot of events around the country and this is always our favourite because of the atmosphere. It is a race but a lot of people are here to just enjoy it.”

Members of Tipperary Civil Defence and family celebrate completing Killarney Adventure Race.

This year Titan provided 2,500 jerseys for participants of the race. Director of Titan, Ken Dunne, said, “We supply gear for a lot of events across the country and this is the biggest with 2,500 jerseys supplied this year.”

“I took part in the 60km route myself this year and it was a fantastic race,” he said.

Words of encouragement, praise and pats on the back were seen and heard with proud family members, friends and fellow race goers waiting for the arrivals at the finish line.

GoTri Adventure member, Paul Tierney, said, “GoTri Adventure are into our second year of training together as a group and Killarney Adventure race has been top of the list for us. It has a race distance to suit all levels which is great for us as we have a range of experience in the group from beginners to elites.”

“The smile crossing the line is just as wide for everyone. The race organisation and the buzz around the finish line is second to none, we had a few sore heads on Sunday that can attest to that. My favourite part of the race has to be the scenery though, it’s breathtaking in more ways than one. We’re so lucky to be able to take part in events like this,” he told the Irish Examiner.

GoTri Adventure members Paul Tierney and Derek Kiely cross the finish line at Killarney Adventure Race together.

After a challenging race, competitors and spectators enjoyed the festival-like atmosphere, music, food, kid’s adventure race, prize giving and after party at the Gleneagle Hotel.

Male Winners: Liam Aherne, Cork, was the winner of the 27km sport route. Dave Burke, Dublin, won the 48km dual route. Connor Curran, Cork won the 50km semi-pro route and John Paul O’Connell, Limerick, won the 60km pro route.

Female winners: Winner of the 27km sport route was Maria Moriarty, Kerry. Aleksandra Nowak, Cork, won the 48km dual route. Ericka Murray, Sligo, won the 50km semi-pro route, Mary Daly, Kerry, won the 60km pro route and Emma Donlon, Kerry, won the 70km route.

The results of the winners of the male 70km route have been postponed until next year.

Full race results are available here.


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