Jason Kehoe

My own perspective on the race:

Only a handful had been on the new course so far so quite a few were unsure of what to expect.

I had done my first race on Carrauntoohil four years ago in 2007. It was only my fourth race to ever do and I remember being totally out of my depth and agog at the runners at the top of the field. Never did I imagine that I would be one day be competing for a podium position on this mountain. You can read that old report which I used as a speech in Toastmasters here:

The second time I raced it was in 2008 and everything went wrong that time, from too many clothes (sun blazed), left to late to eat breakfast, forgot stuff in the car etc. etc.

This year I was sad when I learned I wouldn’t get to test myself on the old route with a bit of training behind me, I really wanted to see if I could tame the beast that is the Cahir mountain ascent. But out with the old in with the new and it’s probably fitting that John Lennihans record time should be immortalized anyhow.

The new route has a spectacular start, right on the side of the mountain along the Kerry Way. We hustled together to the KW marker which was the start and finish post. Race Director Vivian gave us permission to take in the scenery as we ran, in the previous Irish Championship race this was a no-no for Croagh Patrick. We were finally off and Colm Hill led us up the steep zig-zag trail. He was going at a fair pace, a little too quickly for my liking so early on, heart rates must have been sky rocketing. I wanted to get into a steady rhythm and the advantage of hanging back a bit was that we could see where shortcuts could be taken to make up time and effort on the zig-zags. Turlough Conway later told us he saved around 20 seconds by doing this! I tucked in behind Peter O’Farrell and together with Brian Furey we cut off the leaders towards the top of the zig-zags.

At this stage route choice came into play, with myself and Peter heading along a long rocky ridge slightly left and Brian, Rob Cleary and co. following a long fence line. It was tough work jumping from peat hag to peat hag to stay out of the slop, my shoes were loose and I knew one step in the bog and it was goodbye shoes. Peter O’ reminded me of a green Spiderman in his IMRA singlet. But as I said to myself ‘Anything he can jump I could jump betterrr…ooooh crap maybe not, nearly lost a shoe there!’ After about ten minutes it appeared that the fence line was the route to take as it was firmer and the lads looked to be making good time. Before I knew it when I looked ahead Brian was a good 50 meters ahead with Rob chasing. I decided to make a break too as I was feeling strong and chased after Rob. I think I only had to ‘shuffle’ in one section of the climb and before I knew it I was reeling Rob in and just as I approached Cahir I had made some time on ‘The Furey’ and could see him disappear over the top.

The ridge is a really tricky place, I was slowed up here somewhat, one minute you’re making good time and the next you find yourself on one of its multiple paths and facing a 5ft drop to navigate. I was happy with the climb and still had a fair amount left in the tank. My priority for the race was King of the mountain points and I knew I needed a 2nd place spot at the top to still be in with a chance of a podium spot. It was inevitable that Brian would be favourite for the KOM title but no harm in aiming for ‘Prince’ of the mountain title! One race left to grab points on, Lugnaquillia and I doubt the competition will be easy on that favoured route.

After a brief ‘howya’ to summit Marshal Shay Foody and a request for him to describe the view to me as I rounded the cross, then it was back off on the descent. The descent was much fun and games and to be honest at the time I was fairly confident in holding my position to the finish. The old route must have been calling me because when I crossed Cahir and had just let my body free fall and go all out for the descent I heard Aidan Roe give me a shout and I had to do a sharp left bank turn (top gun style!) to get back to the proper descent path, I would have ended up at the old finish line! The only thing holding me back in some spots was the worry of loose shoes across the boggy sections. Next of all Jason Reid came bounding along and we zig-zagged back and forth for a good while as we both looked for the optimal path down the mountain, it was a great oul’ tussle and only our third so far, yet I was still feeling confident in holding him off. With about 1.5km to go my quads got very weak and I took a gel but it was way too late in the game for it to kick in. Jason took the impetus and his stamina helped him pull steadily away for 2nd place. A quick look over my shoulder showed I wasn’t under immediate threat so I began cantering off to the finish but then realised an attack could come from other runners anywhere along the zig-zags and picked up the pace again, I even went wrong for a bit (I went zig-zig instead of zig-zag!) but luckily caught a glimpse of Jason behind me and got back on track all the time scanning the mountain horizon beside and behind me nervously. Poor Rob was not as fortunate with his zig-zig! What a long and demanding descent and it didn’t help that Paul Mahon was there to greet you at the zig-zags. He was in particularly jolly form and haranguing every passing runner it was reported!

The finish is a great spot for seeing runners battle it out with a few cleverly taking shortcuts to pip other runners. A chat and then a walk downhill to the cooling stream and then a few pints in the Climbers Inn with a great bunch of people followed. A few interesting prizes on offer, Ercus Stewart couldn’t believe his luck when he picked up a lovely little red coloured ‘wine cooler’ but was seriously crest fallen when he learned it was actually a toilet bin and returned it for a set of disposable BBQ’s.

Highlight of the prizes was probably the lamp which Brian Furey was quick to take up. Although it was just a plain looking lamp from Dunnes Stores home-wares department I would say it’s going to get pride of place in the Furey household. A lovely little reminder of a fantastic win on a great mountain which is steeped in IMRA legend…

Peter O'Farrell

Where Lenihan laid down his marker with a time that will never be beaten.
A reason we can call ourselves a mountain running association.
A testing ground for any aspiring hillrunner in this country
Nice views and the friendly weekend atmosphere that Vivian fosters so well.

For the past 20 years many hopefuls have arrived down to the foot of the hydro road to challenge John Lenihan on his mountain, one he loves so much he nearly died on it and one he has set an astonishing series of victories on. The list of winners on this special race reads like a who's who of hillrunning royalty in this country.
This year, a year of many changes, saw John unable to line up with work pressures and injuries putting paid to another rebuff of the latest set of aspirants although between bouts of injury himself and Vivian O'Gorman had managed to find a new and improved approach route to Cahir with not only the requisite gurgling stream at the finish, this one also boasted better views of finishing runners, more grass to sit on and a cafe cum B&B right at the finish. Bravo!
The new route is much better then the old one and leads straight onto mountain via the surprisingly steep zig-zags of the Kerry way before launching onto bouncy boggy ground and then it's up up up to Cahir with savage views to Carauntoohill seemingly miles away, a bitta down down to the ridgeline with the remote possibility of terminal velocity for the truly unfortunate, followed by the usual up up climb and descent to and from the highest cross in Ireland. The return climb up Cahir whets the appetite for an exhilarating new descent back down Cahir which leads to the free route choice optionality after the mandatory stile on Kerry way. Hint – aim for the red shed. All good you might say but who won?
Well Brian Furey has been the story of this year's season and he didn't disappoint with a sumptuous display of tactical acumen and patience, climbing skill and descending to put a new man's stamp on the Legend's mountain and the rest of us were left scrapping for the bit parts in one man's quest for the Irish Championship which only a fool would bet against at this stage.
Colm O'Cnoic Hill led off as we tentatively approached this notion of free route choice (3 mandatory checkpoints both up and down, Kerry Way stile, Cahir, Carauntoohill) with the continually cute hoor Turlough making up huge ground every time the leaders went off round a zig-zag by cutting back on a straighter line. Good racing from the Sligoman who was still smiling from Sligo's victory over Mayo with his Warrior's mountain visible in the background on a curragh TV.
Onto the open mountain and Brian opened up his lungs and legs, took a casual look around and slowly but with the same inevitability as a glacier he moulded the race to his shape and moved away from the field. Some of the field tried to take exception to this treatment with Jason Kehoe and Rob Cleary in particular having good climbs - Jason has really improved his climbing this season and is looking good for a high placing in the KOM category. Another Jason, Reid, has made the most of a good winter marathon (sub 2.45) to add power endurance to his repertoire of skills, guitar for instance and this clearly showed with his strong descent going from 5th at the top to 2nd at the bottom. Very steady running all the way, impressive stamina and desire to catch catch catch those ahead.
Karen Duggan was possibly an even more definitive victor in the ladies race with a dominant run, although there was some slight confusion at the finish as Eamonn Hodge appeared to think he was racing her, tests will be required but its unlikely Emma Hodge will be making an appearance anytime soon. The free route choice was music to one man’s ears with our favourite race reporter and orienteer Colm O’Cnoic Hill making up 3 places a kamikaze mapcap descent through some burnt gorse.
This route has a lot and with a good record in place now to aim for hopefully it will spark the imagination of the masses for years to come. Thanks again to Vivian O’Gorman in particular and the farmer, Mr John Foley, for the use of his yard for parking.

Shay Foody


1 ( 1 ) Brian Furey 00:55:00
2 ( 3 ) Jason Kehoe 00:57:50
3 ( 10 ) Rob Cleary 00:58:16
4 ( 4 ) Peter O'Farrell 00:58:49
5 ( 2 ) Jason Reid 00:58:51
6 ( 5 ) Darren Burke 00:59:32
7 ( 8 ) Mike Cunningham 01:00:05
8 ( 9 ) Adrian Hennessy 01:00:49
9 ( 6 ) Tom Blackburn 01:01:17
10 ( 7 ) Colm Hill 01:01:35
11 ( 12 ) Tony Holmes 01:02:36
12 ( ) DC 01:04:01
13 ( 11 ) Daniel Morrogh 01:04:22
14 ( 13 ) Antony Cornforth 01:04:46
15 ( 21 ) Stephen Cleary 01:05:37
16 ( 19 ) Zoran Skrba 01:06:18
17 ( 24 ) Dermot Murphy 01:06:31
18 ( 14 ) Alan Ayling 01:07:09
19 ( 17 ) Bernard Fortune 01:07:31
20 ( 22 ) Eamonn Hodge 01:07:52
21 ( 20 ) Joe Aherne 01:08:05
22 ( 15 ) Martin Francis 01:08:10
23 ( 16 ) Frantisek Neupauer 01:09:31
24 ( 42 ) Turlough Conway 01:09:50
25 ( 18 ) Brian O'Meara 01:10:35
26 ( 27 ) Alan Collins 01:11:13
27 ( 25 ) Kevin O'Riordan 01:11:00
28 ( 22 ) Brian Mullins 01:11:24
29 ( 34 ) Ciaran Aylward 01:11:35
30 ( 29 ) John Ahern 01:11:38
31 ( 32 ) Damian Kelly 01:13:15
32 ( 30 ) Gearoid Ryan 01:13:26
33 ( 28 ) Shane Enright 01:13:50
34 ( 33 ) Danny O'Hare 01:15:17
35 ( 35 ) Jeff Fitzsimons 01:15:39
36 ( 31 ) Karen Duggan 01:16:12
37 ( 36 ) Patrick Ryan 01:16:18
38 ( 37 ) Joe Lalor 01:17:56
39 ( 54 ) Paul Fitzpatrick 01:18:05
40 ( 46 ) Brian Murphy79 01:19:05
41 ( 43 ) Cormac O'Ceallaigh 01:19:26
42 ( 41 ) Fergal Buckley 01:19:55
43 ( 39 ) Micheal O'Mullain 01:20:06
44 ( 38 ) Eamon Quigley 01:20:32
45 ( 51 ) Kenneth McCarthy 01:21:45
46 ( 26 ) Declan Cunningham 01:22:06
47 ( 50 ) Ercus Stewart 01:22:15
48 ( 47 ) David Bawden 01:24:10
49 ( 73 ) Kathleen Aherne 01:24:16
50 ( 45 ) Deirdre Finn 01:24:36
51 ( 48 ) Loretto Duggan 01:25:11
52 ( ) 01:25:37
53 ( 52 ) Seamus O'Conghaile 01:25:43
54 ( 53 ) David Williams 01:26:43
55 ( 56 ) Thomas Galvin 01:26:50
56 ( 57 ) Aidan Roe 01:29:20
57 ( 55 ) Ed Niland 01:29:39
58 ( 63 ) Frank Culloty 01:29:43
59 ( 58 ) Charlie Hogan 01:30:27
60 ( 61 ) Dave O'Connell 01:30:52
61 ( 67 ) Gearoid O'Cathalain 01:31:36
62 ( 60 ) Kieran Lynch73 01:31:52
63 ( 66 ) John Greene 01:32:45
64 ( 59 ) Wayne Jenkins 01:33:00
65 ( 70 ) Richard Lenihan 01:33:45
66 ( 65 ) Brian Byrne 01:34:39
67 ( 62 ) Kieran Crowley 01:36:54
68 ( 68 ) Patrick Cleary 01:37:11
69 ( 69 ) Eithne McShane 01:37:52
70 ( 75 ) Carlos Castillejo 01:41:32
71 ( 72 ) Joe Laffan 01:46:09
72 ( 74 ) Barry Tennyson 01:48:17
73 ( 71 ) Paul O'Grady 01:52:28
74 ( 76 ) Julie Byrne 02:10:22

Rene Borg


1. Rathfarnham WSAF 7 (1 Brian Furey, 2 Jason Reid, 4 Peter O'Farrell)
2. Bilboa AC 34 (6 Tom Blackburn, 8 Mike Cunningham, 20 Joe Aherne)
3. Clonliffe Harriers 55 (10 Rob Cleary, 21 Stephen Cleary, 24 Dermot Murphy)
4. Cork Orienteers 67 (5 Darren Burke, 30 Gearoid Ryan, 32 Danny O'Hare)
5. Boards AC 95 (22 Eamonn Hodge, 29 John Ahern, 34 Jeff Fitzsimons)
6. Crusaders AC 106 (3 Jason Kehoe, 49 David Williams, 54 Charlie Hogan)
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