Powerscourt Uphill

Authors

Unknown

Uphill only has to be hill running in one of its purest forms: relentless, lung-busting and with no scope to use your descending skills. I have been running with IMRA for a few years now and the Powerscourt Uphill race was the first uphill only event that I have done.

The weather forecast for last night was not good but after earlier showers, the rain cleared and for both registration and the race itself, it stayed miraculously rain-free. For those who felt cheated, the conditions underfoot more than compensated ………

Thus, a fresh spring evening found a cluster of almost 160 expectant runners gathering in Crone car park lining up to pay their fees and register. After a race briefing and route description, we were soon off, onwards and upwards! The route would be familiar to many IMRA participants, wending its way up the trail through the trees along the Wicklow Way before breaking out into more open terrain where we got our first glimpse of our target, Djouce, looking all at once both sullen and serene but thankfully free of clouds or mist. A brief interlude here on the derivation of the unusual name “Djouce”. Apparently it comes from the Irish word, Dioghais, meaning ‘fortified height’ but I am open to correction on this. There was then the short descent to the Dargle (or should that be the Dodder ??!!) but even this aberration from “uphill only” afforded little reprieve because it is quite technical, especially when the rocks are wet and the track is muddy. Crossing the bridge over the swollen stream, the serious work than started in earnest: up along the side of the forest, followed by the long grassy track to the flank of Djouce and finally leaving the Wicklow Way to tackle the final stony cone of the mountain. The earlier rain had made this part of the course interesting to say the least with many small “flash” brooks and streams coursing down the path. One of the great things about this route is that, for better or worse, you can see what exactly what lies ahead of you from early on and as someone at the back of the field, it looked to me for all the world as if a small battalion of colourful insects was crawling up the side of the hill!

Many runners had to resort to fast walking as distinct from jogging up the final ascent and then relief at last: the summit! Here, the marshals faithfully recorded the finishing order, and the runners used the opportunity to catch their breath and enjoy the views from the trig point at the very apex of the summit. After that, all that remained was to jog back down to Crone and engage in some banter en route with running buddies. At this stage of the night, the mandatory rain jacket, hitherto unused, proved very welcome in the cooling air.

So what was the verdict? I would certainly say that it was a resounding success and I think the buzz afterwards would hopefully confirm that view. And, hey, whoever thought of the box of bananas at the finish deserves extra marks – very welcome!

There are a number of advantages to an uphill only event, which were unforeseen to me at any rate: it is relatively short and sharp, it allows for a long cool down in the form of the jog back to the start and it affords runners a rare chance to admire the views, both at the summit and on the descent (a foolhardy exercise on a normal up and down course!). Last night, while it was an overcast evening, the rain had cleared the air so that all vistas were crystal-clear from the top of Djouce. Coming back down the Powerscourt Ridge, many runners stopped to admire the truly magnificent views of the Deer Park and the waterfall (which was obviously in good spate) with the whole scene positively exuding verdance and lushness.

The formal results are noted above but the overall garland went once again to Barry Minnock showing his customary impressive form. There was only once second between second-placed Eoin Keith and Niall McAlinden in third – I would love to hear a report of how exactly that panned out on the approach to the summit! These latter two are always cheerful and smiling – maybe that’s the secret to their success! First lady home was Donna Mahon in flying form with Caroline Reid and Jackie O’Hagan in second and third spots.

The M40 category was won by Bernard Fortune (as Eoin Keith was second overall) with the M50 honours going to Gerry Brady. With Eoin & Gerry bombing along, no one else need apply in their respective categories! M60 was taken by a resurgent Ercus Stewart, revelling (nicely!) in the temporary absence of Diarmuid O’Colmain, while Seamus Kilcullen once again was the M70 category victor. Coming to the ladies, Zoe Melling (my running buddy on the descent but, alas, not on the way up!) was the first F40 showing that class is indeed permanent while Ger Power and Caitlin Bent topped the podium in the F50 and F60 categories respectively. Last, but not least, the M14 category was won by the ever impressive James Alexander and the MJ category by Niall Ewen in flying form.

The race organisation was once again flawless under the able tutelage of IMRA stalwart Turlough Conway and his trusty corps of volunteers. It would be invidious to single out some individuals but special mention should made of Niamh O’Ceallaigh, who had been up and down the mountain twice in the preceding days in all weathers to mark the route, and the three marshalling musketeers, Mick Hanney, Sean Hassett and Ruth Lynam for braving the cold while dutifully recording the finishers. I think even Martin Francis would have needed a rain jacket had he been doing that job ……… ;-). By comparison, your humble scribe had a very cushy number sitting in the comfort of his car while helping with registration. Remember also that the race marker and marshals had lonely ascents and descents from the mountain, unlike the runners who were always part of a throng.

I missed out on the pub but no doubt there was the usual convivial atmosphere as runners regaled each other with their own take on the night. Next up is Prince William’s Seat and, hopefully, the long overdue balmy summer evenings will start to emerge.



Mary Dawson

I must be addicted……to pain! I actually gave up an all expenses paid week in the Donegal Gaeltacht (albeit with a group of 80 12yr olds!) just so that I could do the uphill race! Even a sore throat and cold I acquired at the weekend didn’t seem to deter me. Three days of ‘sick’ rest made sure that I was feeling relatively ok by Wednesday. This dull dread in my stomach lingered all day long at work as I thought about the race, and as I looked at the grey sky and continuous rain I wondered was it worth it? Putting yourself through pain, in the wind and the rain, …..for what??!!

As if in answer, the skies cleared and a balmy, calm Wednesday evening emerged. Sure some of us rebels even decided that we wouldn’t need the obligatory rain coats!! But Turlough cracked his RD whip though which sent us scuttling back to the cars for the abandoned jackets!! (Rebels indeed!!)

Well maybe seasoned mt runners who’ve done longer and steeper races maybe found this race relatively ok but with my limited mt running experience, this was a shock to the system! I started off ok, with Jackie and Caroline well within my sights for the first half of the race and I even felt like I might actually catch up with them as I felt quite good and strong. The first reality check came after getting the first glimpse of Djouce and realizing how far away it still was and how high it appeared!! But all was going well still to the short descent and the crossing over the river dargle. The downhill, even though it was technical enough, was such a welcome relief, and gave you a chance to get your breath back. With the best of will I tackled the L O N G drag up to the base of Djouce itself but found my legs eventually stopped of their own accord for a quick walking respite! There was nothing like the sight of John Shiels and his camera to urge the tired legs on, at least until after the photo!! After this it was like the hare and the tortoise with all the runners around me. One runner would fade and another would pass him out confidently only to be reduced to walking 20 metres on and be caught and passed by the same runner who had surged onwards with renewed energy after a quick walking breather! Zoe had caught me at this stage and I had long since let go my thoughts of catching, let alone staying, with Caroline and Jackie! It was just me and the hills now, and getting to the top to finish at all!!

We continued this yo yo running to the base of Djouce and suddenly I found new legs! I’ve run up Djouce numerous times in training runs and always found it quite runable, so I was actually looking forward to giving it a good lash and maybe reclaiming my 4th position as I was in touching distance of Zoe. As I progressed up I thought to myself that this feels harder than normal, it must be because I was in a race. I also noticed that it felt a lot longer than normal as in training runs I was at the summit before I knew it. When I was reduced to fast hiking I just felt that I must be having a bad day!

It then dawned on me that we were ascending from the other side of Djouce…..the LONG STEEP side! After this realization I slogged on with whatever energy I had left and even managed a sprint finish with no. 270! I’ve never been as close to vomiting after a race as I was after that ascent. The spectacular views and the chats with the other finishers somewhat quelled the nausea but I was half way back to Crone Woods before I really felt ok again.
I took a handy, chatty descent, admiring the views and exclaiming at the amount of water we had run through, I never really noticed it on the way up! As we reached the woods into Crone a challenge was put for a race to the finish (or start!). All pain and nausea was forgotten as the joy of stretching the legs on a good downhill was welcome. It was a good laugh and a great finish to a great race. I will say though that it was one of the hardest races, and not just hill races, that I’ve ever done! Yes I am addicted!! When’s the next one?!

Jim Fitzharris

Powerscourt Uphill – 20 May 2009

Uphill only has to be hill running in one of its purest forms: relentless, lung-busting and with no scope to use your descending skills. I have been running with IMRA for a few years now and the Powerscourt Uphill race was the first uphill only event that I have done.

The weather forecast for last night was not good but after earlier showers, the rain cleared and for both registration and the race itself, it stayed miraculously rain-free. For those who felt cheated, the conditions underfoot more than compensated ………

Thus, a fresh spring evening found a cluster of almost 160 expectant runners gathering in Crone car park lining up to pay their fees and register. After a race briefing and route description, we were soon off, onwards and upwards! The route would be familiar to many IMRA participants, wending its way up the trail through the trees along the Wicklow Way before breaking out into more open terrain where we got our first glimpse of our target, Djouce, looking all at once both sullen and serene but thankfully free of clouds or mist. A brief interlude here on the derivation of the unusual name “Djouce”. Apparently it comes from the Irish word, Dioghais, meaning ‘fortified height’ but I am open to correction on this. There was then the short descent to the Dargle (or should that be the Dodder ??!!) but even this aberration from “uphill only” afforded little reprieve because it is quite technical, especially when the rocks are wet and the track is muddy. Crossing the bridge over the swollen stream, the serious work than started in earnest: up along the side of the forest, followed by the long grassy track to the flank of Djouce and finally leaving the Wicklow Way to tackle the final stony cone of the mountain. The earlier rain had made this part of the course interesting to say the least with many small “flash” brooks and streams coursing down the path. One of the great things about this route is that, for better or worse, you can see what exactly what lies ahead of you from early on and as someone at the back of the field, it looked to me for all the world as if a small battalion of colourful insects was crawling up the side of the hill!

Many runners had to resort to fast walking as distinct from jogging up the final ascent and then relief at last: the summit! Here, the marshals faithfully recorded the finishing order, and the runners used the opportunity to catch their breath and enjoy the views from the trig point at the very apex of the summit. After that, all that remained was to jog back down to Crone and engage in some banter en route with running buddies. At this stage of the night, the mandatory rain jacket, hitherto unused, proved very welcome in the cooling air.

So what was the verdict? I would certainly say that it was a resounding success and I think the buzz afterwards would hopefully confirm that view. And, hey, whoever thought of the box of bananas at the finish deserves extra marks – very welcome!

There are a number of advantages to an uphill only event, which were unforeseen to me at any rate: it is relatively short and sharp, it allows for a long cool down in the form of the jog back to the start and it affords runners a rare chance to admire the views, both at the summit and on the descent (a foolhardy exercise on a normal up and down course!). Last night, while it was an overcast evening, the rain had cleared the air so that all vistas were crystal-clear from the top of Djouce. Coming back down the Powerscourt Ridge, many runners stopped to admire the truly magnificent views of the Deer Park and the waterfall (which was obviously in good spate) with the whole scene positively exuding verdance and lushness.

The formal results are noted above but the overall garland went once again to Barry Minnock showing his customary impressive form. There was only one second between second-placed Eoin Keith and Niall McAlinden in third – I would love to hear a report of how exactly that panned out on the approach to the summit! These latter two are always cheerful and smiling – maybe that’s the secret to their success! First lady home was Donna Mahon in flying form with Caroline Reid and Jackie O’Hagan in second and third spots.

The M40 category was won by Bernard Fortune (as Eoin Keith was second overall) with the M50 honours going to Gerry Brady. With Eoin & Gerry bombing along, no one else need apply in their respective categories! M60 was taken by a resurgent Ercus Stewart, revelling (nicely!) in the temporary absence of Diarmuid O’Colmain, while Seamus Kilcullen was once again the M70 category victor. Coming to the ladies, Zoe Melling (my running buddy on the descent but, alas, not on the way up!) was the first F40 showing that class is indeed permanent while Ger Power and Caitlin Bent topped the podium in the F50 and F60 categories respectively. Last, but not least, the M14 category was won by the ever impressive James Alexander and the MJ category by Niall Ewen in flying form.

The race organisation was once again flawless under the able tutelage of IMRA stalwart Turlough Conway and his trusty corps of volunteers. It would be invidious to single out some individuals but special mention should made of Niamh O’Ceallaigh, who had been up and down the mountain twice in the preceding days in all weathers to mark the route, and the three marshalling musketeers, Mick Hanney, Sean Hassett and Ruth Lynam for braving the cold while dutifully recording the finishers. I think even Martin Francis would have needed a rain jacket had he been doing that job ……… ;-). By comparison, your humble scribe had a very cushy number sitting in the comfort of his car while helping with registration. Remember also that the race marker and marshals had lonely ascents and descents from the mountain, unlike the runners who were always part of a throng.

I missed out on the pub but no doubt there was the usual convivial atmosphere as runners regaled each other with their own take on the night. Next up is Prince William’s Seat and, hopefully, the long overdue balmy summer evenings will start to emerge.



Rene Borg

The first Uphill Only Leinster League race was won in imposing style by Crusaders, once again led by trio Richie and Rob Healy and Shane O'Rourke. It was a good night for the Irishtown club who's three next runners would have finished 6th.

They would have been outmatched against Rathfarnham, Sli Cualann and Clonliffe, however, who had an incredibly tight battle. With two men over the line, Clonliffe were leading despite Barry Minnock having arrived first for Rathfarnham. In the end Sli Cualann edged out their rival clubs by a solitary point and the race was now for third. Mike Long dug deep as always and his 26th vs. Dermot Murphy's 30th, meant the greens from Marlay Park beat Clonliffers on "first team across the line".

Next up was Boards AC with runner-up Eoin Keith, recovered from his biking shoe related injury at Ticknock and they had a good gap to new team Bank of Ireland AC (is this the beginning of a BHAA invasion of IMRA?).

Rounding up the men's field was Setanta, UCD, and the Tumbleweeds.

The women's was an equally tight affair, Crusaders, with a welcome return of Emma Sokell, put pressure on Sli Cualann, but in the end the local women won by a solid 6 points.

Setanta's women were well ahead of the two other teams after their first two runners had finished, but had to settle for third three points behind Crusaders.

Tonight's results means Crusaders are closing in on Clonliffe and Sli Cualann in 1st and 2nd while Rathfarnham look to threaten Boards AC's 4th when they get their 5th race of the season. In the ladies' competition, Crusaders will need a strong result to fight off the spirited Sli Cualann challenge at Prince Willie's Seat in their defense of 1st.

MEN
1st - Crusaders AC 24 (4 Richard Healy, 6 Rob Healy, 14 Shane O'Rourke)
2nd - Sli Cualann 49 (9 Ben Mooney, 13 Hugh McLindon, 27 Martin Francis)
3rd - Rathfarnham WSAF 50 (1 Barry Minnock, 23 John McEnri, 26 Mike Long)
4th - Clonliffe 50 (8 Gerry Brady, 12 Greg Byrne, 30 Dermot Murphy)
5th - Boards AC 81 (2 Eoin Keith, 31 Mick Hanney, 48 John Ahern)
6th - Bank of Ireland AC 103 (15 Joseph Mooney, 24 Peter Gray, 64 Niall Larkin)
7th - Setanta 110 (25 Kevin O'Riordan, 32 Terry Lawless, 53 Andreas Kusch)
8th - UCD 131 (38 Niall Fox, 41 Ben Dromey, 52 Philip De Chazal)
9th - Tumbleweeds 174 (46 John Linehan, 52 Ben Moore, 76 Donough O'Keefe)

WOMEN
1st - Sli Cualann 32 (5 Mary Dawson, 11 Aisling Renshaw, 16 Maria O'Rourke)
2nd - Crusaders AC 38 (8 Emma Sokell, 13 Niamh O'Ceallaigh, 17 Dee Ni Chearbhaill)
3rd - Setanta 41 (3 Jackie O'Hagan, 6 Hazel Thompson, 32 Caitlin Bent)

Gerry Brady

COUNTY RESULTS

There were 157 finishers on the inaugural uphill only Leinster league race with 101 of them (64%) recording their county. Dublin won both teams from Wicklow with Niall McAlinden, Richard and Robert Healy, and Ben Mooney all having excellent runs to finish in the top ten. Donna Mahon put further pressure on the leading men as she finished an excellent 11th place overall.

Race wise a large group formed close to the lead early on with Eoin Keith (Cork) in front and Barry Minock (Offaly) quietly watching, but not for long! Once Barry broke away the chase was led by Eoin Keith, Keith Heary (Carlow) and John McEnri (Dublin), the latter was to pay dearly on the long climb for not having a small snack before the race as he slipped back through the field after finishing fourth last week. The big winners on the climb from the river were orienteer Niall McAlinden (Dublin) who moved from tenth to a sprint for runner-up spot and Ben Mooney (Wicklow) who pulled away from his group to place ninth. Meanwhile Donna Mahon (Dublin) after losing a few places on the short descent took them all back and more on the climb. Behind her Caroline Reid (Meath) was showing improved climbing ability as she surprised Jacqueline O’Hagan (Dublin) for the runner-up spot.

There is another uphill only race today but this time in France where the first WMRA grand prix of the season is being held. Ireland is represented by Brian MacMahon from Cork. See website link on IMRA events page for more details.

Please send your county of birth or residence to gerry.brady at imra.ie if you want it added to the database.

Men
1. Dublin 13 (3 Niall McAlinden, 4 Richard Healy, 6 Robert Healy)
2. Wicklow 36 (9 Ben Mooney, 13 Hugh McLindon, 14 Shane O’Rourke)
3. Cork 78 (2 Eoin Keith, 26 Kevin O’Riordan, 50 Richard Nunan)
4. Kildare 88 (22 Daniel Morrogh, 32 Dermot Murphy, 34 Eoghan Carton)

5. Offaly 40 (1 Barry Minnock, 39 Niall Fox)
6. Wexford 48 (5 Bernard Fortune, 43 Eoin Mahon)
7. Donegal 127 (40 Shay Foody, 87 Paul Trayers)
8. Cavan 156 (62 Finbar McGurren, 94 Phil Ward)
9. Longford 205 (100 Darren Flynn, 105 Paul Concannon)
10. Mayo 231 (112 John Coleman, 119 James Higgins)

Women
1. Dublin 8 (1 Donna Mahon, 3 Jacqueline O’Hagan, 4 Zoe Melling)
2. Wicklow 32 (5 Mary Dawson, 11 Aisling Renshaw, 16 Maria O’Rourke)

Keith Heary

Wow what a race, as a novice in mountain running terms this race was a real eye opener, the sort of race where you can feel what pain is really like. I had great plans on the journey up for a top 3 finish but i was to see the dream crushed on the final 400m up to the djouce summit when i was passed by a band of four determined runners. Barry Minnock looked effortless as he eased away from us over the opening fire trail. I held myself back in a group with Eoin Keith, and John McEnri with the Healys and Bernard Fortune in toe. Aidan Woods made a blast as we came off the fire trail but he was to come undone on the descent down to the river.I tasted rock on the descent when i picked the wrong rock to jump on and came down heavily on the right knee. By this stage Eoin Keith had pulled away and was in pursuit of Barry. The Healys went down the descent to the river as if they where gliding over the rocks. Myself and Bernard Fortune worked hard to draw ourselves back up to them as we waded up through the slop and muck on the base of djouce, a quick glance over the shoulder at any stage was greeted with the sight of the orange of Gerry Brady. I tried my best on the final ascent of Djouce and opened up a gap in 3rd place on the early stage of the last climb. When i tried to make one final burst my cylinders emptied and was resorted to a slow crawl for an all too long period of time. Niall McAlinden went past me in hot pursuit of Eoin and this was the final nail in my coffin. I managed to cross the line in a dissapointing 7th place. But i was given a real lesson in how to climb from the experienced Rich and Rob Healy and mountain goat Bernard Fortune( a legend of mountain running in my part of the country)Well done to everyone who finished a tough race and the fantastic organisation and also to Barry, Eoin and the rest for showing how its done. Congrats to Donna Mahon on an excellent race. I have to say being a cyclist that its alot harder to run up a hill than it is to cycle up one.
  Forgot Password? | What is myIMRA?
myIMRA