Marcella Scanlon and Aoife Walsh competed in the challenge
Following the rapidly growing success of the first three Knock ME Down Adventure Race events held each September from 2016 to 2018, the 2019 event was much anticipated.
In fact, the 450 places on offer were booked out in advance of the event. This year’s Challenge included expanded MÓR and Challenge numbers, taking place on Saturday, September 7.
The event was a spectacular success, bringing a huge buzz to the village of Newcastle. In contrast to 2018, the weather was excellent this year.
All those with a penchant for physically challenging events descended on the village. This physical exertion extravaganza gets participants to dig deep, bringing out their strongest performances.
For the past four years this multi-disciplinary event has been organised by voluntary group, Knockmealdown Active. The organisation promotes all types of activity based events along the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains in south Tipperary into Cork and Waterford.
The Knock ME Down Adventure Race events involve cycling, running, (or walking at times) and Kayaking.
As multi-sport challenge events go, it is well suited to anybody with a reasonable level of fitness. The entire course consists of marked roads and forestry tracks so getting lost is never an issue.
The event began and ended at the GAA hall in Newcastle village. There has been a strong increase in numbers year on year. Ninety took part in 2016, 180 in 2017, 220 in 2018, increasing to 450 in 2019.
This year a dining marquee had to be added at the front of Newcastle GAA grounds to facilitate the numbers involved. There was also a dedicated Civil Defence tent outside the hall for the first time.
The Challenge event starts with a 15km cycle from Newcastle to Kilballyboy Wood car park/picnic site on the Vee Road outside Clogheen.
Bikes are parked here and participants take a beautiful scenic 2.5km run (or walk if they wish) from Kilballyboy Wood to Baylough lake.
This is followed by a 0.5km sit-on kayak trip around Baylough (most competitors say this is the most enjoyable part).
Once completed participants then take a different running route back to Kilballyboy Wood and a (thankfully mainly downhill) 15km return cycle journey to Newcastle.
The MÓR event adds an extra gruelling 4km mountain run at the start. To finish off it takes a really tough, but exhilarating, 33km cycle over the Vee and back to Newcastle via Mount Melleray. It’s a tough one.
On completion participants were treated to a feast while they watched the results roll in live on screen and watched a playback of the Facebook Live feeds of their exploits on the lake and at the finish line.
An award presentation took place at the GAA hall where the victors received their prizes.
Winners on the day were: Kealey Tideswell and Marina Quinlan (Female MÓR), Liam O’Donnell and Aaron Nixon (Male MÓR); Hilary Collins and Katy Dyer (F Over 60 Challenge); Sinead Stafford and Katie Long (F 40 to 60 Challenge); Helena Walsh and Michelle Lonergan (F Under 40 Challenge); Richard Meehan and Sean Prendergast (M Over 60 Challenge); Chris Coady and Larry Stapleton (M 40 to 60 Challenge); John Mahoney and Nathan Croke (M Under 40 Challenge). Full results are available on Facebook.