Next Saturday, I’m returning to the Kingdom for the 3rd time this year. Each trip has been super – 2 days golf in Ballybunion Golf Links in April, followed by our annual pilgrimage to Dingle for the Adventure Race in June. Next Saturday I’m back to experience one of Ireland’s (and Europe’s) top adventure races in Killarney.
Returning to Killarney
2013 was my first visit – I was so impressed with the scenery, race organisation, run & bike courses, as well as the post race celebrations, that it was a quick decision to sign up again for 2014. I’m hoping the balmy summer weather we’ve been experiencing this week continues – last year in early October we sat on deck chairs after the race in 20 degrees Celsius!
A Good Year
My preparation has gone well this year – I’d a solid winter/spring of cross-country running, followed by building on the bike and in the pool for the summer triathlon season. Along the way I set PBs in 5km, 10km and improved my swim and bike times. I can’t remember a bad race – we had so many great weekends, in usual haunts like Dunmore East, Kinsale, Dingle, Dungarvan, but also new destinations such as Belmullet and Galicia in Spain.
Adventure Race Preparation
I’ve been delighted to remain injury free over the past 2-3 years, so have been consistently able to train 6 if not 7 days a week. Exercise is now such a necessity for me – both physically but also mentally. Getting my heart pulsing makes me feel alive, clears my mind, lets me catch up on podcasts/radio, while I discover the roads and mountains around Dublin and Wicklow.
My training hasn’t been specific to adventure racing – although I’ve done enough solid running and cycling during the year to put me in good shape. This includes running 4-6 times a week, including a weekly 2hr run in the mountains. I’ve also got cycling twice a week. I haven’t focused on kayaking – outside racing in Wexford & Dingle.
I didn’t get to run IMRA races this year, or do a few more adventure races as prep, which is not ideal practice, but to be honest I’ve had enough with triathlon and road races to keep me more than active! I would have liked to work on my downhill speed/technique, as well as my kayaking technique.
Who to beat?
Anyway, I’m looking forward to meeting a tough challenge in Killarney – the field was packed with talent last year and this year should be even bigger. Defending champion Aidan McMoreland will have the usual suspects of Adrian Hennessy, Eric Wolfe, Paul Tierney and Jerry O’Sullivan to contend with. New challengers will likely include Dessie Duffy, Chris Caulfield, Lonan O’Farrell and I hear top triathlete Trevor Woods is also set to make a debut, so watch out for him.
My goals are simple:
1. Bring my trail runners this year (after forgetting them last year!),
2. perform to my limit, hopefully improving on 4th place and
3. savour every minute of the weekend! I’ll be dreaming of collapsing into those red deck chairs with an ice cream and a cold beer by 1pm on Saturday!
I’ve written a few posts for Ollie on the KAR blog, which are featured on the official website. In addition check out my 2013 race report.
- My 2013 KAR race report
- 5 Tips for the Killarney Adventure race
- What to do on the week leading up to KAR?
- Making the transition from other sports to adventure racing