The Harlequin Adventure Duathlon on March 26 is set to attract a bumper field of more than 300 competitors with some of the best adventure/duathlon racers in the country taking part in the run/bike/run event.
Organiser Seb Locteau who is one of the organisers of the Connemara Marathon is extremely happy with the entry to date. “After last year’s successful event its great to see that the 2011 event will be even bigger an better,” he said. “The course is not too severe and its easy to navigate around. This year we have made it a bit more challenging with longer runs and an off road bike section. In the last few months I have seen this route being used a lot by fitness enthusiasts.”
Next Saturday morning at 9am Castlebar's Lannagh road will be closed to traffic and instead of being full of cars it will be full of eager athletes looking to lay claim to being the fastest over the 36k route which makes up the duathlon course.
The course takes in the Lough Lannagh walk, the Rathbawn road to the Glenisland booster at 1,450 feet, returning via Glenisland to Castlebar and a repeat of the Lannagh walk to finish outside the Harlequin Hotel. It is expected the fastest competitors will complete the course in under two hours, with the leading competitors crossing the finish banner at around 11am outside the Harlequin Hotel.
Rory Geraghty from Galway won last year’s event. This year he will have to cope with the form of Colm Staunton who won the Sea2 Summit adventure race last November, and young Con Doherty, who recently won the Junior All Ireland’s Duathlon championships will also be up there, In the ladies’ race, last year’s winner Derval Devaney will have competition from 2009 and 2008 Gael Force winner Mary Mulchrone and Rachel Maloney from Foxford, who has had a string of good results in the last few weeks.
With so many entries a dark horse might upset the favourites as there have been many locals who know the course and have trained hard in the past few weeks. The run up to the Glenisland booster at half way mark will more than likely decide the race as the final 2k steep ascent will test the competitors’ mettle. For spectators this is probably the best place to watch and cheer on the participants.