The Wicklow Way is a long-distance tail heading south from the edge of the city through the Wicklow Mountains to the farm yards and boreens of south Wicklow. For most it is a 6 day trek. However, for team Frontrunners last Saturday it was to be all done in one day, at the IMRA Wicklow Way Relay race. This year’s event was confirmed rather late. With the event getting sold out within hours of entry opening, we had a small window to recruit a team and fit in reconnaissance trips to Wicklow.
Race day arrived. Getting up at 5:30am early runners were greeted by heavy rain. Claire kindly provided car support for leg 1,2 and 3 runners – Shay Foody, Damien Molloy and Anne Marie Lillis respectively. At 06:30, excitement was building up at the foggy start car-park at Kilmashogue near Rathfarnham. After a short briefing, the marshal blew his whistle at 07:00 and 29 leg runners disappeared into the mist – running up over the Dublin Mountains into Co. Wicklow. Fog lingered for leg 2, which took runners on an expedition around the top of Powerscourt Waterfall and onto the highest point of the route (630m) on the shoulder of Djouce mountain. In the dense fog Damien when slightly off track and lost a bit of time back tracking onto the route. Well done to Damien here for getting back on track – this served as a reminder of the big challenge facing runners at this event. Atmosphere at changeover points was great where teams gathered to wait for their runner to come through and share stories of their adventures. Weather improved after the leg 2, and good solid running from Anne Marie and Philip got the team to Glendalough – where early runners were able to get some lunch. Meanwhile Vincent Hibbert took the Glendalough to Glenmalure leg – the second half of which follows part of the DFR hike route from last summer. From Glenmalure the route is less trodden. Fergal Buckley ran leg 6 in a good time, over a big hill to Iron Bridge and handed over to Patrick for the 21km (yes, there was a half marathon thrown in the mix!) leg 7. Excellent time of 1hr 45mins from Patrick who was up against all the strongest runners. Finally Martha ran the last 10km to the cross the finish line in the beautiful village of Shillelagh, where we celebrated our achievement with drinks and dinner.
Team Frontrunners finished the 127km course in 10:43:43, putting us in the 25th position. Considering we were a team of mostly mountain/trail running novices, up against strong athletic clubs who have been taking part in this event for many years, we did extremely well. A huge thanks must got to drivers Philip, Martha and Claire – especially Claire who was on the road from 6am until 6pm.
Time to get planning for next year!
Leg 3-4 changeover: Anne Marie and Philip
Patrick smiling after his half marathon, Martha ready to give it socks for the final leg.
The Wicklow Way