The Connemara 100-mile road race, takes place this Saturday 11th August in the wilds of Connemara. Thirty hardy souls will brave the tough conditions and undulating roads of Connemara to achieve what for those taking part, is a wild ambition and long-term dream to achieve one of the golden chalices of ultra marathon running – completing a 100-mile road race.
As the Summer draws to a close and the autumn marathon season approaches, roads around the country are full of runners getting ready to tackle the many marathon events that take place between now and the end of the year. But what about those for whom 26.2 miles is just not long enough? In recent years the number of ultra marathons on offer around the country has been on the rise, and so too is the number of people putting mind and body on the line to run longer and longer, and in the case of the Connemara 100, even longer still.
Starting in Clifden, making their way through Letterfrack, Leitirgeish, the Inagh Valley, Maam Cross, Leenane, back through the Inagh Valley on to Roundstone, Ballyconeely and finally back to Clifden, the six females and 24 males taking part in the Connemara 100 this year will celebrate in style once they cross the line.
Participants have 30 hours to complete the total distance, starting at 6am on Saturday morning, most of whom will cross the line during the night and well into Sunday morning.
The event is the brainchild of RunIreland.com’s Ray O’ Connor, who will line up with the rest of the field in an attempt to compete in this year’s event.
An avid runner with over 150 marathons under his belt – his most recent running adventure being the Marathon Des Sables Peru last November – Ray is no stranger to running marathons and ultra marathons. But the Connemara 100 is a different beast altogether, a challenge he is apprehensive and excited about in equal measures.
“This event is an amazing adventure. We have never really promoted it as it is such an unusual event to do, there are only a handful of people who would take on this distance. What started out as an event set up for a few friends and ultramarathon enthusiasts ten years ago, it has grown to see runners travel from as far as Australia just to get the chance to compete. It’s a tough course – but as each competitor must be accompanied by crew for the duration there is plenty of company to keep us distracted from the daunting distance.”
“In this race it is as much about mind as body, but strangely when you start hitting the high numbers of 70, 80 and 90 miles your mind seems to take over and you focus on the significance of the achievement ahead. This focus can overshadow the pain and torment of the hours and hours of running behind, as the coveted finish line grows closer. I’ve been training for this for over a year now and can’t wait to get on the road and see how I fare. For me, a 20-hour finish would be my first goal.”
For progress reports and general information on this year’s Connemara 100 follow the event on Facebook.