Following a tough few months with no racing, this weekend has provided some light at the end of the tunnel. There is only so much joy that can be derived from virtual racing. For me, there is nothing that can make you dig as deep as chasing down or being chased down in those tough final few kilometres, regardless of where you are in the field. The little micro-battles in your head keep you striving!
There was a couple of races to choose from this weekend and the two that grabbed the attention were The Reeks Skyline and Gaelforce Connemara. GoTri Adventure were lucky enough to have a male and female entrant to both events so it was sure to be a good test of the competition. It was also a sample of what racing could look like for plenty of time to come, with people staying in small groups and face masks in the registration area. By all accounts, both races were very well organised.
The Reeks Skyline
The Reeks Skyline has become an instant hit among adventure racers and mountain runners, with pre-qualification required and some of Ireland’s most rugged racing terrain. With 2400 meters of climbing over 24 kilometers on an unmarked route, this event is not for the faint-hearted. Thankfully, Des Broaders and Aoife Fennel who headed to Kerry to take it on are not the type of individuals that can be described as such!!
Having worked together for the race, Des and Aoife made it back in good order. So good in fact, that Aoife came over the line as the second female, a result that boosts her already impressive racing CV! Hats off, if you don’t mind the pun
Gaelforce Connemara used the tried and tested format of hill running, biking and kayaking. A sprint distance event of 32km is shorter than what we have become accustomed to, but eager for racing as always, Paul Tierney and Andree Walkin headed West to take it on. What transpired was a great day for racing in a beautiful part of Ireland. The new club gear, which has too little racing for all of our liking, also got chance to shine.
Having put in an impressive run and bike to hit the water in second place, Paul had to settle for third after a mishap while trying to get going on the water. that being said, an excellent podium finish. Andree also put together a competitive run, bike and cycle to finish near the top of the field which included 400 finishers.
These events are about far more than racing. There is great friendship, adventure and pure joy that comes from going outdoors with a group. There is also the quieter moments when you can just sit back and enjoy the view, and I must admit my favorite picture of the weekend says more than I ever could about what makes these events special.