Race report by club legend Maura Ginty

The leinster league is a series of 13 summer races run by IMRA in the Dublin/Wicklow mountains every Wednesday until mid July.  You can compete in as few or as many races as you like but it takes 7 races to score in the league and get some form of t-shirt; all levels of runners compete and there is even an early start time for those who need extra time to complete a route.  About 200 runners do each race.


Race Reporter Maura and Eileen

On Wednesday night the race was up and down Sorrell Hill out near Blessington for a 9.45km round trip up and back, with nearly 400meters of ascent.  This was #8 in the League.

I have been doing these since mid April – I wasn’t able to commit to club sessions this season and had always wanted to try mountain running…initially thought I would be a natural as my summer and winter holidays are in the hills – with lots of running every week.  Race 1 dispelled all thoughts in that regard and I realised I may as well have been off at the ballet.  It turns out that hiking/skiing on mountains and running on roads are no assistance whatsoever to the act of physically running up a mountain.  But the whole imra race experience, including the social side, had me hooked from the beginning and I have vowed to do as many of these summer races as I can.


For this race, Eoin had put out call to arms on facebook and myself, James DB and Liam The New Guy met at club house and set out, with Eoin driving.   On the way there, we got the low down on Liam (he’s M50 if anyone’s wondering) after threats to look him up online later that evening.  Though, true to form, we had barely reached Templeogue when the lads started convincing him that he should do a marathon.  The journey was also broken by James giving us a full rundown on his health insurance plan.


The joys of carpooling

We met Eileen at registration in field and as usual at imra races, great atmosphere and camaraderie about – these are the friendliest most welcoming races I’ve participated in (terenure 5mile excepted).

The evening was gorgeous, though slightly too warm for running.


Sorrell Hill (the one in the background)

Race kicked off and I would like to say that Eoin and Liam went tearing off ahead, but in this race and given the uphill start I think it would be fairer to say that Eoin and Liam started a slow jog at slightly faster pace than me.

As I see it, the main difference with Imra racing and the roads is that it is ok to walk bits and most people do.  However, it seems to be only socially acceptable to walk when the gradient is steep. The worst part of imra race is any long gentle gradient where peer pressure dictates you have to run.  There are also obstacles like styles and wire fences – which again you are delighted to see and you can ease right down as take time crossing them (technically frowned upon, but I reckon everyone does it).


Still smiling post race – until we realised James had no idea where the car key was

I found the race tough psychologically as could see the hill and the sneaking line of runners going all the way up.  But because the terrain is so varied and given that you can make it as competitive as you like (e.g. racing against other girls for places), the time goes really quickly.  Half the time I’m trying to determine if the heavy breathing creeping up behind me is a girl (bad) or man (good – no threat). Coming downhill is where the fun really starts, you are rewarded for being completely irresponsible… it is here the weekday shackles come off and you can really just go for it.  Oh and the scenery also and sense of adventure is nice too.

My race was not great – came 18th girl and would usually be 12/13th – though still better than the shambles that was trooperstown hill last week.

The lads had more of an adventurous time than me – James jumped over two dead sheep and Liam saw the guy ahead of him lift the leg of a dead sheep with one hand and throw him in the ditch.  Eoin and Eileen had no sheep stories but seemed content regardless.


Its cool, he was only playing dead #messer

We were all happy out at the end though and agreed it was great workout, whatever else. After hinting to the lads several times, I finally decided to casually ask Eoin if he was off to the pub – the post imra race pint is a mountain running ideology I have wholeheartedly embraced.

Eoin had his negative reply ready, and with that I had a glimpse into the mindset of a 1,200meter track champion; deviating from the plan was never in the equation for him… as he glanced off into the middle distance trinity track never far from his thoughts.


The BHAA Trinity Grass Track Races – Next Wednesday 7pm

Some would say the tactic of a 9k hill run one week out from the biggest track championship meet in the country (fact not verified) is kamikaze stuff but maybe the Champion needed that evening away from the BHAA buildup and hysteria, out in the Dublin mountains at sunset, to become reacquainted with the true nature of running – as the saying goes “the gazelle needed to embrace the goat before he became a gazelle for the second time”

And so the formalities:

James was just in after the 2nd female – 51:10

Liam was 4th M50 – 56:50 (He’ll be pleased with that. His joint best imra finish to date)

Eoin was 103rd – 1:03:16 (poor eoin as a M30 doesn’t get any category to make him feel better about the placing. Still he’s got next week)

Maura was 18th female – 1:05:02

Eileen was 22nd female – 1:06:48

For results and future races visit the IMRA website: Click Here