Carrauntoohil sees new beginnings…

Posted in At the Races by Rene Borg on Tue 08 Jun '10

leave a comment
© www.irelandscape.com

Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest peak, has hosted the premier mountain race in Ireland for twenty-three years running now but 2009 marked the last running of the old course. Access issues with a local farmer enforced a change to a route described as “the best ascent of the mountain”.

This has shortened the race from 13.7km to 12.5km while the climb remains a daunting 1126m (3694 ft.) with the summits of Caher and Carrauntoohil now being approached from the South rather than the North-West. In tribute to the old route and its champions, let’s look back before we look at this weekend’s event.

A Brief History
Former World Champion John Lenihan dominated the original Carrauntoohil route for most of its life-time. His tally of victories stands at nineteen, the first fourteen in a row! Only twice has he been beaten outright: In 2006 by club-mate Eoghan McKenna and in 2004 by former Ben Nevis winner John Brooks. When Robbie Bryson took victory in 2002, John was nursing an injury, and he didn’t contest the race in its inaugural year when Douglas Barry took the honours.

© www.iol.ie

John Lenihan

He had numerous great adversaries over the years including England’s Simon Fairmaner, John Heneghan, and the redoubtable Paul Nolan. None proved more perennial, however, than reckless descender Francis Cosgrave who recorded six consecutive runners-up positions. Despite never winning, he achieved the rare blue-ribbon performance of finishing the course in less than 80 minutes which has eluded so many good runners over the years.

Perhaps it’s therefore fitting that John Lenihan left it to a newer generation of runners to test themselves against the revised course this year. The decision would not have been made easily for there seems to be an almost spiritual connection between Ireland’s King of the Hill and the mountain on which he once nearly died during a training run.

Despite the change, only the most optimistic hoped for a challenge on the formidable records set by John and by Beth McCluskey. John ran 71:43 in 1988 and Beth 92:17 in 2001 on course to winning her second of six Carrauntoohil titles. Rumours fluctuated about a possible comeback for the woman who has put more of an imprint than any other female competitor on the route, but it remained a rumour this time around. Perhaps we will see both record-holders grace the 2011 event.

On the back of such rich history, contestants lined up to open the next chapter in the story of Carrauntoohil (For a full history of Carrauntoohil, readers should refer to the IMRA Archive).

Irish Championship Round 2
Colm Hill, CNOC, led the race out at a hard pace with a lot at stake; the race is a counter for both the Irish Championship competition and King of the Mountains.

A leading pack quickly established itself; Jason Kehoe, Crusaders, shadowed the defending Irish Champion Peter O’Farrell when Brian Furey took off as expected to claim the summit. Jason and Rob Cleary, Clonliffe, crested the summit next. A wrong turn towards the end finished Rob’s challenge for honours as he came home in 10th.

© John Shiels / actionphotography.ie

Brian Furey at Howth, 2010

It was another Jason, Rathfarnham’s Jason Reid who would take fullest advantage as he overhauled Jason Kehoe on the descent. The Crusader in turn held on comfortably ahead of Peter O’Farrell. Rathfarnham were overwhelming club victors ahead of local club Bilboa AC and Dublin rivals Clonliffe Harriers. Karen Duggan, Clonliffe, celebrated her second consecutive win on the course with eight minutes to spare on former winner Majella Diskin. Further back Deirdre Finn held off Loretta Duggan for third.

With Croagh Patrick and Carrauntoohil done, Brian Furey needs only one more victory at Lugnacoille to call himself Irish Champion but a late contender may yet emerge for the final three races of the series.

In the King of the Mountains, Brian holds a three point lead on second-placed Jason Kehoe with Peter O’Farrell in third. Final results still to be confirmed.
The Irish Championship continues at Lugnacoille in early July and it will also be on this summit that the next King and Queen of the Mountains will be crowned.

Full results of Carrauntoohil at IMRA.

© Shay Foody

Have your say

Open and honest communication is encouraged, but we reserve the right to edit or delete comments.

Your email will not be displayed and will remain private.

You may use basic Textile in your comment:
*bold*
_italic_
"linktext":http://…

Latest comments

  • deck box craigslist ct 29 Aug '14(Midweek racing...)

    Another useful outlet is to …

  • marine fridge thermostat 29 Aug '14(Salomon hits the City!)

    You don’t want to linger …

  • Royal Revolt 2 Hack 29 Aug '14(iRunFar unearth new shoes at OR)

    I phone has been a …

About MST

Mud, Sweat and Tears was dreamt up some time ago. I had returned to the sport of running (competitively) after around a 15 year layoff due to injury.

Read more…

Blogroll
Alex Vero
Great story. Great film making...
Athletics Weekly
The don dada of running magazines
Fell photos
These shots are top notch emotion
FRA
The FRA's site, still strong...
IAAF
The all-seeing eye
iRunFar
The very best coverage for all things ultra-trail, and much more!
Jonathan Wyatt
The greatest hill runner of our time...
Letsrun.com
New and eeeven better!
Original Mountain Marathon
Does what its says on the tin
Run Snowdonia
Iain and Sarah Ridgway's excellent mountain running guide service!
Runner's World
The mag for the masses
Running over Mountains and around the World
International blog from Moira O'Sullivan
Sleepmonsters
Dont sleep on this one!
Trail Running
Great trail running resource, take a peek
Trail Running Magazine
UK magazine devoted to the exciting, adventurous world of off-road running!
UK Athletics
Track and field, and other stuff
WFRA
Welsh Fell Runners Association
World Mountain Running Association
IAAF's global up hill, down dale, site
Friends & Family
  • After Market logo
  • Block Interactive logo
More Videos

Check out the MST collection:

YouTube