Thursday, 1 May 2014

Endurance Events in Ireland - How are they evolving?

With trends in the endurance space changing in Ireland with the likes of mud runs, electric runs, colour runs, adventure races & ultra running becoming more popular I decided to showcase some of the more "unusual" events that we are recently working with.

The Sionnach Relay Series:

Probably the event I was most excited about working with this year. Sligo is the  European Town of sport of sport for 2014 & this is one of the trademark events this year. Inspired by the Ragnar Relay Series in the U.S. Race Director Patrick Mc Carrick is encouraging Irish runners to gather in teams of 8 to take on the 274 KM challenge. While one runner is doing one of the 4 8k loops the rest of the team can relax & take in the atmosphere of the central "hub" where there will be music and other activities. The below link to the youtube video explains the event perfectly - have a look!

"Take the concept of summer time outdoor concerts and combine it with the fun of a charity run and the challenge of a distance race all centered around a tented village for 24 hours, mix in 4 scenic runs, great vendors, and if you want to there will be camping with your team of 8 and you have the Sionnach relay Series. Teams consist of 8 runners and will run as a team a total of 274 Km (170 miles). Each Runner runs approx 34 Km (21 miles) total over 4 loops with a 5 hour average break between loops while their team mates run. The race takes an average of 24 hours to complete. Teams will begin in staggered start times between 11 am and 6 pm on the Saturday depending on the teams average 8k pace. Runner will run with their team through the night around Co. Sligo. Teams will finish on Sunday between 10 am and 6 pm. When the other 7 runners are not running, they will be busy cheering on their teammates and soaking up the party atmosphere at Sionnach Village waiting for the active runner to return to hand off to the next runner."

Surf N Turf - Born 2 Run Events:

Born 2 Run events are the latest events company taking Endurance in Ireland to another level. Growing in popularity, Jane & Carol aim to provide "Great Races in Great Places" in beautiful surroundings. Surf N Turf in Limavady is a multi terrain Half Marathon & 10k on beach, boardwalk, trail & country road. Personally working with Born 2 Run is one of the highlights of 2014 so far.

"Following the success of our Surf 'n' Turf Wexford race last year we are bringing SURF 'N' TURF NORTH to Benone Strand, Limavady, Co. L'Derry. Benone Strand is one of the most awesome beaches in Ireland offering stunning views across to the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal and also Scotland.  Benone has seven miles of beautiful unspoiled blue flag beach which runs between Castlerock and the Magilligan Peninsula.  SURF 'N' TURF NORTH will offer runners a choice of a half marathon or a 10K and will be a multi-terrain mix of beach, boardwalk, trail and country road."

 The Picnic Paint Run:

I love Jackie and I also love her event. The Picnic Paint Run follows the Color Run concept & is based on the grounds of the infamous "Electric Picnic" festival.  Another "hyper social" event, get a team together and prepare for some multi-coloured fun!

"How does it work? You should wear old white clothes and preferably sunglasses and at each 1km stage you are blitzed by volunteers in a different colour paint powder. At the end of the run you will have a smile from ear to ear and will look tie-dyed!This is not a race and is not timed, the emphasis is on having a healthy, fun afternoon. To keep the party atmosphere alive, we will have a DJ at one of the many stages available on the estate."

Ultimate Survivor:

Bringing you an Adventure Race from the hills of Donegal, Ultimate Survivor has big plans of releasing more than one event this year. I'd advise keeping an eye on this one as new obstacles will be released as the days go by.

"The toughest 10k run in the Northwest is coming to Letterkenny on July 19th.    This is an exciting challenge on a gruelling terrain in the wilderness of the hills of Donegal, packed with demanding obstacles that's sure to test your mental and physical endurance and stamina! For the beginners the course will also include a 5k option which will be just as challenging but with only half the distance to cover! So everyone can have a go!   Also a MASSIVE Survivor Pack full off goodies is available for each participantEvent schedule and times"

Energia 24 hour hour - Belfast:

Fancy yourself as an Ultra Runner? See how much distance you can cover in 24 hours! Ed Smith's 24 hour race is growing in popularity year on year as running continues to grow in popularity year on year.

"It says on the T-Shirt 'Beyond Limits' and that's where you'll go in this track -based race where the support you'll get is second to none.There is a £500 prize for the man and woman who goes the furthest , bonuses for track records and specail awards for passing 100 miles.There is also a 12-Hour option and a Team Relay for teams of 4(must include at least one woman) each doing 3 stints of 2 hours. "

Hell Mountain Challenge:

My personal favorite, down in Kerry The Hell Mountain Challenge is something so different. Just go on to their FB page to see the course map - it looks class! Entries only opened this week on the new ACTIVEworks Endurance platform & I'm sure Gerard won't mind me saying he loves it.

"Hell Mountain is an adventure run unlike any other. A true test of endurance – the run takes you to the summit of a mountain with some of the most spectacular views on the Kerry coast. But all is not as it seems – the track is littered with surprise obstacles and challenges, sure to get your heart beating and adrenaline pumping."

The Connemara 100: 

What kind of son would I be if I didn't mention my father's legendary CNM 100 event. He has already conquered the Ultra Running scene with the Ultra Marathon option of the Connemarathon. The CNM 100 takes it to a new level. Run 100 miles through Connemara's mountains in the ultimate Endurance challenge.

"THE CONNEMARA 100 on the West Coast of Ireland is run over a measured
and certified course. The 2012 event was AAI permitted and awarded an IAU Bronze Label. The course is simply fabulous, taking participants from Clifden through Letterfrack,
Leitirgeish, the Inagh alley, Maam Cross, Leenane, Inagh Valley again,
then on to Roundstone, Ballyconeely and back to Clfden to complete 100 miles.
The scenery is needless to say fantastic..."


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