It’s a great time of year, the weather is getting warmer, the days are getting brighter and longer, so what better a time for setting yourself a fitness goal and squeezing in some training and nutrition to help you along the way to achieving it.
This week, nutritionist Laurann O’Reilly and owner of Nutrition By Laurann, guides us through some of the top Irish endurance challenges happening in Ireland this year.
TOP IRISH FITNESS CHALLENGES 2022
It’s always good to set yourself some goals and to have something to work towards, it not only helps to keep us focused but fitness goals are great for the mind and body. Here are some of my top picks to name a few
1) Red Bull Conquer The Cashel – May 28-29 2022 - Cashel
Here in our beautiful Tipperary, this challenging course will test the body and mind to their limits. Competitors aged 16 and upwards are permitted to compete. However, competitors aged 16 and 17 must complete a consent form signed by their parent/guardian. What’s Involved: This sprint course will be 2km in length, with over 20 obstacles to defeat. Red Bull Conquer The Cashel will take place over two days. This is bound to be a great challenge from start to finish! Do you have what it takes to Conquer the Cashel?
2) Turf Warrior – May 21 2022 - Leenane Co. Galway
Turf Warrior is a fun packed event full of obstacles to test your physical fitness. Despite the activities requiring your best efforts in strength, agility and balance, no special skills are needed for participants to take part. What’s Involved: The race starts with a long run (or dash) as you make your way through the slippy bogland of Connemara. You then face your first set of slides, trenches, and leaps. There are some riddles to throw you off and keep you guessing. Then get ready for the mud, as the intensity slightly increases, the warrior-like aspects of the event come into play. Jumping off trampolines and figuring your way through burning straw mashes, you’ll eventually get minced by the pasta masta, before setting on route to the Great Wall Of Connemara. Here you’ll need the help of a fellow warrior to get you over. Tunnels, balance beams, and waterslides all give it that rugged outback feeling that adds to the excitement.
3) Hell & Back – June 11 2022 – Bray, Co. Wicklow
This is one of Ireland’s Toughest Mental & Physical Endurance Challenge, is the country’s largest and most popular obstacle course run. Here they convert the stunning Killruddery Estate in Bray, Co Wicklow into an adventure playground. What’s involved: Participants must complete a 8-16km trail route crossing rivers and lakes, climbing hills and mountains and crawling through bogs and swamps. To survive, you must conquer all the elements thrown at you, whether that is the temperamental weather conditions, the gruelling natural environment or the torturous man-made obstacles.
4) Dingle Adventure (DAR) Race – June 11 2022 – Dingle, Co. Kerry
This one’s a nice little challenge with 3 route options. What’s Involved:
1) The DAR Mini Course: If you’re new to adventure Racing and multi-sport events, then give the DAR mini course a go, this will give you a taste of running, biking, kayaking and the atmosphere that is involved at these great events. You also don't have to be very fit for the mini which includes a 1km run Dingle Marina to kayak, 1km sea kayak, cycle to Ventry 7km, 5km run of Ventry beach, 6km cycle back to Dingle, 1km Run to Finish. Total 21km.
2) The DAR Full Course: There’s quite a bit more fitness required for this one. The 45 mile/ 73km course takes you to some of the best gems on the Dingle peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Biking around Slea head, following in the footsteps of St Brandon climbing Ireland's second highest Mountain range Mt Brandon and kayaking in Dingle Harbour.
3) The DAR Sport Course: Is another option which also includes kayaking, cycling and running whilst taking in the incredible Kerry views.
5) Race 2 Glory – July 9 2022 – Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo
This is a multi-sport adventure race that involves running and cycling! What’s Involved: The race organisers have introduced a second shorter distance of 20 km (which still requires a bit of fitness) in addition to the very popular full race which is 40 km in distance. The full and sprint distance Race To Glory races have three individual stages.
6) Lilliput Legend Adventure Race – July 16 2022, Lilliput Westmeath
This is perhaps one of the most ideal courses for the first-time adventure racers. It is challenging and demanding however the bike section is relatively flat making it more accessible. The event allows racers to take full advantage of their facilities and the race entry fee includes not only a race T-shirt as well as a goody bag but also complimentary camping, showers, parking, and even in previous years free post-race massage! What’s involved: There are 3 race distances to choose from 1) The Mini 25km: This distance includes 1.5 km of kayaking, 2.5 km of running, and 21 km of cycling. 2) The Sport 45km: This distance includes 5km of running, 38km of cycling, 2km of kayaking. 3) The Ultra 65km: This Distance includes 2 km of kayaking, 53 km of cycling, and 10 km of running.
7) Gaelforce Connemara – July 23 2022 – Connemara Galway
Gaelforce is a triathlon with more added adventure. What’s Involved: This is a 67km endurance race. The start can be challenging. Running the beach and inclined roads can really test you for the first few kilometres. This is due to the heavy changes in terrain. But once over this, you’ll cruise towards Killary Harbour before kayaking across the fjord into Mayo. The kayaking event is only 1km long and will give you a breather before setting out on foot again. This stage is particularly easy as there are two people per kayak. Although you’ll be pushing for time, you’ll feel ready when moving on foot again as you make your way to the biking range in Delphi.
8) Quest 12 Beara - August 27 2022 – Beara Peninsula, West Cork
The Quest races do require a high level of fitness, but with the right training they can be achieved by many. This 12-hour adventure race goes all around the stunning Beara Peninsula. This individual adventure race takes in some stunning scenery around West Cork. You run across the Caha Mountains and the Beara Way, cycle through Healy Pass and along the Ring of Beara. The race also takes a kayak in Bantry Bay out to Bare Island and finishes on the shoreline of the famous visitor fishing village of Castletownbere. What’s Involved: This race consists of seven unique stages and covers a total distance of 151.91km with a total elevation gain of 3183m. Not for the faint-hearted!
9) Quest Lough Derg – September 10 2022 – Lough Derg – Sligo/Tipperary Border
This is a good one to set your fitness goal towards. There are three challenging routes for competitors to choose from, all of which take in some of the best trails the area has to offer. What’s Involved: 1) Challenge 22km: This distance has 5 unique stages, with a total of 7km running, 14km cycling and 1km kayaking, 2) Sport 57km: This distance offers 9 unique stages, with a total of 14.1km running, 41.5km cycling and 1km kayaking and finally 3) Expert 69km: This distance offers 9 unique stages, with a total of 20.1km running, 47.5km cycling and 1 km kayaking.
10) Quest Killarney - October 8 2022 - Killarney Co. Kerry
This race takes place in the stunning surroundings of Killarney and has many distances to choose from to help you to reach the edge of your physical ability. The routes were designed to be challenging and inspiring as a real test of endurance for any outdoor enthusiast. What’s Involved: The 1) 83km Expert route, 2) 73km Pro route, 3) 55km Sports route, 4) 65km Dual route, 5) 27km Challenge route and the 6) Dual distance which has no kayak leg.
In preparation for endurance events, it’s important to have the right nutrition for performance and recovery, so check out next week’s column where I’ll guide you through how to develop a nutrition strategy to get you fit and ready for that big event.
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