Surviving the 2017 Mourne Mountain Marathon

The Mourne Mountain Marathon hurts. I can still vividly remember the pain from nine years ago, when I last did the two-day race. Entering my forties has, however, made me curious to see whether I could survive it again. So this year I penciled the event into the list of races I wanted to enter. … Continue reading Surviving the 2017 Mourne Mountain Marathon

The Glacial Lakes Race – Three steps forward, two short steps back

I’ve always wanted to run the Glacial Lakes race since its inception in 2012. This year, I was finally in the right place at the right time, and was able to put in an entry. IMRA’s Glacial Lake event is a 43km race with 1,783 metres of ups and downs. It is primarily designed for … Continue reading The Glacial Lakes Race – Three steps forward, two short steps back

Dandering around Dingle’s Mountains

“You can’t go up there. People have gotten lost up there”. The owner of the Bed and Breakfast where I was staying was adamant. Going up and over Brandon Mountain via the walker’s Dingle Way was not a wise thing to do. I was 19 years old. I didn’t know about mountains or map reading … Continue reading Dandering around Dingle’s Mountains

An Intrepid Tour of the Comeragh Mountain Cliffs and Loughs

I’m a regular visitor to County Waterford, often staying within a stone throw’s of the Comeragh Mountains. With three hours to spare last Tuesday, I headed on up them to check out the glacial lakes. I made straight for The Gap, up through the bog, and heather and muck. The sheep were out in plenty, … Continue reading An Intrepid Tour of the Comeragh Mountain Cliffs and Loughs

Teaching Mountain Navigation

When it comes to mountain races, I’m a terrible one for complaining. Why do they have to mark nearly all the routes? Why, when the routes aren’t mark, do hardly any racers turn up? Why don’t more people run the IMRA navigational series? Why don’t a lot of Irish mountain runners know how to use … Continue reading Teaching Mountain Navigation

Loving it up Lugnacoille

With sunshine all round Ireland last Sunday, I wanted to really make the most of the mountains over the weekend. So I decided to park my car at Glenmalure Lodge in South Wicklow and make my way up Lugnacoille. At a modest 925 metres, Lugnacoille is the highest peak in the Wicklow Mountains. The mountain … Continue reading Loving it up Lugnacoille

Feet, Stomach and Head – Ultra’s Terrible Trio

There are three main things that can mess up when you're ultra running. The first thing that can go wrong is your feet. Blistered, bruised and battered feet can literally stop you dead in your tracks. Adventure racers seemed to have masterd footcare and take great pleasure in sharing their wisdom about how to keep … Continue reading Feet, Stomach and Head – Ultra’s Terrible Trio

Mountain Mentors

How do you learn to read a map and use a compass? How do you get good at route choice and cluster order? Who do you ask about fell-running shoes and mountain-running bags? How do you work out what to eat and drink, and how often to do so in different types of races? Courses … Continue reading Mountain Mentors

The Serious Condition of Cluster Phobia

The medical condition called “Cluster Phobia”, though difficult to identify, is often found rife amongst mountain marathon runners. Cluster Phobia symptoms manifest themselves as follows: in navigational events, the map coordinates for checkpoints are normally given together with the order in which they must be visited. The challenge here is in determining your route choice … Continue reading The Serious Condition of Cluster Phobia

Coming off Tonlagee … at Night

It’s hard coming off Tonlagee at the best of times. Every year, IMRA runs the Circuit of Glenmacnass, a 20km race that takes you up and over 1000 metres of climb, summiting Brockagh, Tonlagee and Scarr on your way. Though the race is consistently run in June when it is broad daylight, even in clear … Continue reading Coming off Tonlagee … at Night