It gives Skyrunning UK great pleasure to announce a new addition to the 2020 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series with a new event in Ireland – The Gaelforce Sky Run.
The Gaelforce team are no strangers to adventure and are brilliant ambassadors for the outdoor and adventure sports in Ireland since 2006.
The Gaelforce Sky Run will take place in Connemara, County Galway in March 2020 bringing a well needed early start to the UK & Ireland calendar. It is the perfect time of year to focus yourself for the year ahead. The after race experience in Ireland is unique, with traditional pints of Guinness in the local pub an essential part of the recovery!
This 22km course takes runners up the western sections of the iconic Maumturk Mountain Range. This is the Wild Atlantic Way in all its glory – wild and untamed mountains with virtually no trails and sweeping views of the coastline. It is a looped course, so no covering old ground. There are many testing climbs. Ever heard of the Col of despondency? You will get first-hand experience of this col and some fast descents down the valley as well as the final and most notable climb towards your final destination.
The land is working farmland, typical of the area, and access to these hill sheep farms is specially granted for this event. The rocky, boggy and varying terrain will test the most experienced racers.
- Expect: 22km of challenging terrain with steep ascents and descents
- Prepare: For rapidly changing weather patterns pushing in from the Atlantic Ocean
- Achieve: An overall height gain of 1372m over 4 peaks
- Enjoy: Vast panoramic views of Connemara, Killary Fjord and the offshore Atlantic islands.
- Max Elevation 605M| Elevation Gain 1295M
- CAT 1 Climb x 1| CAT 2 Climbx 1
The event first took place in 2015 and has grown in popularity over the years seeing more and more people graduate into mountain running. This race is attracting competitors from all over Europe with some high profile racers adding this race to their calendars. Team Salomon athlete Thibaut Baronian won the event in 2018 (second in Zegama -Alzkori this year to none other than Kilian Jornet).
Bridget Gavin from Gaelfocrce commented, “Gaelforce are delighted to be part of the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series and hope that it will highlight this style of running to more Irish runners as well as showcasing Ireland as a destination for mountain running.”
The prizes for the winners include cash prizes and unique bog oak trophies, crafted locally. All participants receive a finishers medal and the Gaelforce team pride themselves on a warm west of Ireland welcome to their home ground. Route creator Shane Young, an avid mountain runner, says “I have spent my life running up and down these mountains and truly believe that these mountains were not just put here to be admired from below. So, if someone ask why, the only real answer is why not”
For anyone who has never been to this part of the world before then you are in for a real treat as this part of Ireland is stunning and the mountains abundant.
It is also easily accessible from the UK with Ireland West airport 1 hour and 20 mins away. There are flights from many UK cities into this airport weekly.
The start/finish of the race is located at the Killary Adventure Centre on the shores of Killary Fjord. They have special accommodation deals on offer for anyone who wishes to stay in this spectacular area. Further accommodation options in the area can be found on the website.
“It’s 95% open mountains with steep slopes and super muddy sections you can really enjoy if it’s on your ass or just staying on your feet and letting go… “– Juju Jay from Mud Sweat and Runners
“I think this is the gem in all the events in the calendar – just you and the elements and a few other mad people who love running / plodding in the hills in the wind and the rain – even had the delights of snow on the route – no trails or tracks just nature in front of you… Easy registration, timings the minute you come over the line and the ever good Killary soup at the end. Thanks for organising!” – Sheila Kilduff Mountain Runner
Gaelforce Events Website HERE
Follow on the Skyrunning UK Facebook page HERE for entry details.