Distance:  9.09k      Climb: 322m      Terrain: Bog; Muck; Rocks; Rivers

Participants: Glenn Cahill (0:55:56); Tim Murphy, Race Reviewer (1:00:39); Eoin O’Brien, Photographer (1:02:23); Neil Purdy (1:04:38); Philip Kerr (1:05:18).

Race preparation – in the form of non-stop rain, started a full 16 hours before the civilised 11:00am race start the following Sunday morning. Thankfully, the rain cleared in time for the race start – and I spotted the ever-present and presentable Eoin; an ‘in the flesh’ version of Neil (thankfully, with more than his Budgie Smugglers on); and the Galant Glenn, who was to be our pacemaker for the day. Philip must have been doing his pre-race stretches somewhere. There was no sign of the ladies. Presumably, they had the smarts not to incur the wrath of Emily, Myles, and Paul by missing out on the XC Nationals in Cork. Karol won the last running of this race. He too, was quite rightly in Cork.

Anyway, the race starts (GAP – Glencullen Adventure Park) with a mad stampede (not unlike the cross country), before narrowing to a rocky technical, and steep climb up to Fairy Castle. Then comes the ‘boneshaker (in top form) down to the Ticknock aerial masts.  Much of this was a rock-strewn river that we were running in. The day had really cleared up by now. And the views were awesome… but mind your step! Then came the spin towards the coast, and back up via Two Rock. This was a pure muckfest, that would make a Cross Country runner weep (not sure if tears of joy or pain). Finally, a fast – turning to super fast final 2k, on trail, then grass/path.

There was a packed sandwich and crisps for all at the end. The raffle brought Eoin multiple prizes too. Race of the day award also went to Eoin. Eoin completed his 13th IMRA race post Covid re-opening last June. This was his fastest race, relative to the winner’s time – whilst simultaneously taking photos. Philip has made it 3 races out of 3, for the Winter League this year. Neil has completed his usual annual quota of 1 IMRA race per year.

Another fab day out on the hills. IMRA Trooperstown Saturday 19 Feb 11:00, now open for registration. Irish Mountain Running Association (imra.ie)

Full results here Irish Mountain Running Association (imra.ie)