A challenging summer ahead...
Posted on February 24, 2010 @ 1:29 PM in
From Competitor to Completer
Having spent every summer since I was 10 competing at sailing regattas virtually every weekend – I’ve had enough. Don’t get me wrong sailing is an absolutely fantastic sport, I’ve met great friends and had reasonable success but it’s time for a change. Hopefully I’m not old enough to be experiencing a mid life crisis but perhaps working for OutdoorNI.com has opened my eyes to the whole new set of options to get out any enjoy Northern Ireland’s outdoors.
Along with a few mates last year I had a go at the Belfast Rat Race which ignited a slow burning ambition to have a go at a few more of these challenge / adventure races. I found out very quickly that there are some seriously fit guys and girls who take part in these events but there are also a great number of folk there to complete rather than compete with the emphasis on having fun, trying something new and meeting like-minded adventurous people along the way.
As the weather slowly begins to improve and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of what has been a bleak winter to say the least, I have begun to research my options for this summer.
Luckily in Northern Ireland there are plenty of diverse options to suit all abilities and interests. The majority include running, canoeing, cycling and in many cases a combination of all three but here are just a few that have whet my appetite:
26 Extreme Winter Race Series
Having done a bit of running before this might be the perfect way to dip my toe into the scene. A quick glance over the previous race results show there is a range of abilities. There is also the massive appeal of running through Tollymore, Castlewellan and Rostrevor Forest Parks rather than the urban scene which I have become familiar with.
If you are interested in this you had better be quick at the last race of the series is on 6th March in Rostrevor. For more details click here
Diamond Quest Ireland
This one has really caught the eye of everybody in the office – well….not everyone!!!. Based around Carlingford Lough, this event is certainly a challenge. The day starts with a 15km run from Carlingford village to the top of Slieve Foy and back, then a 1km paddle across Carlingford Lough and finishing a 45km circular cycle through the Mourne Mountains. The event can be done on your own or as part of a team and raises money for an African Schools Trust. You even have the opportunity to win a diamond!!
The event is endorsed by Everest conqueror Hannah Shields “Taking part in a race like this will give competitors such a fantastic buzz of adrenaline as well as the great feeling of helping so many needy children in Africa.”
The event takes place on Saturday 15th May – For more details click here
70 Wild Miles
This event has been running very successfully in Fermanagh for a number of years. There are a quite a few hardcore folk who take on the 45 mile cycle, 10 mile kayak and 13 mile run all by themselves but there are even more who take part as a three person relay team and therefore only have to focus on one of the disciplines.
It is not a race as such, the real purpose being to assist in the fight against Cancer. The immediate beneficiary being CLIC Sargent (Caring for Children with Cancer), who receive every penny raised from the sponsorship.
The event is based at the Share Holiday Village so can also be a fun day out for the family whilst mum and or dad are taking part.
The event takes place on Saturday 22nd May – For More details click here
Mourne Way Marathon
The title of this event nearly put me off until I read a bit further. Having never tried a ‘normal’ marathon, the thought of one through the foothills of the Mournes sounded as if I would biting off a bit more than I could chew.
However, as well as the main event there is a half marathon and a 10k walk/run which sound as if they may be a bit more achievable and again the Mournes will certainly provide a spectacular place to run. I think I’ll leave the Ultra Marathon option to others this year!!!
The event takes place on Saturday 12th June – For more details click here
Lap the Lough
Again this event is more a challenge than a race and for me that’s just as well. One complete lap of Lough Neagh – Britain and Ireland’s largest inland water is 87 miles or 140 kilometres. The appeal of this event is certainly not in question as this year’s edition will almost certainly be Northern Ireland’s largest ever cycling event.
A slick event website provides all the information you would need plus most importantly a training programme making the event achievable for the first timer.
The event takes place on Sunday 29th August – For more details click here
So it looks like a busy summer ahead – check out the blog later in the year to see if I have walked the walk rather than just talked the talk. Maybe I’ll see you at some of the events – well at the start line anyway!!
I’m sure I have only scratched the surface of what is actually out there. If you have any other suggestions of outdoor challenges or adventure races in Northern Ireland then why not post a comment on this blog. Alternatively why not ‘Suggest an Event’ on OutdoorNI.com.