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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

A unique adventure race is coming to Dublin for the first time this weekend

Gaelforce Dublin takes place on Saturday.

THIS WEEKEND SEES a pretty interesting, and unique adventure race event come to Dublin for the first time.

Pic Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX Source: PAUL SHARP

Gaelforce Dublin is a race across three disciplines — running, cycling and kayaking — which brings competitors on a loop through the various terrains and mountains of South Dublin, including a reservoir, both starting and finishing at Tallaght Stadium.

The event offers two routes, 49km or 29km, catering for all abilities and levels.

“It’s not just for the hardcore athletes, it’s for people who haven’t done something like this before,” event organiser and Director of Killary Adventure Ciara Young Co. tells The42.

Gaelforce North 1 A competitor at Gaelforce North. Source:

Killary Gaelforce organise adventure events around the country, with the first Gaelforce West taking place in 2006. It may be shorter than the 67km west route, but Young admits that the Dublin race will be just as tough, if not tougher.

“To be honest, a lot of people are going to be pushing they’re bikes up sections of the climbs, it’s definitely something that’ll make the legs burn,” she continues.

“All those crossing the finish line will really have earned their medal.”

That being said, it’s certainly an exciting event and one which allows fitness fanatics to try something different.

“Different disciplines mean it’s exciting for people training, it’s not just running on the road, you can cycle, you can find a trail in your local forest, it gives you a bit of scope and it makes the training a little easier to do, and get yourself out the door for – that’s half the battle.

4 Gaelforce West 2016 Participants at Gaelforce West. Source:

“It’s Great that it is in February. It’s something that people have been aiming for through the winter. Having something to aim for on those cold, dark nights when you don’t want to go out for whatever the training session is, it makes a huge difference. It also allows people to kick start the racing season in a fun way.”

The event, sponsored by John West, is one which has been in the pipeline for quite a while. Young had always hoped to expand the race to the east coast.

“Dublin is where a huge percentage of the population of the country live so we wanted to bring another race over to the east coast. The location where the race is, it is an adventure. It’s a great location for it.

Gaelforce North Kayakers at Gaelforce North. Source:

“We’ve been working hard alongside the South Dublin County Council and South Dublin Chamber to get the race off the ground. We’ve been planning it since the summer last year, it’s a long lead in time to these things. Even finding the route and things like that, a lot of time and effort goes into it but it is an adventure for everybody.”

Although registration for Saturday’s Dublin race is full, Gaelforce are running several other events throughout 2017. The next race is the Gaelforce Mountain Run in Connemara on the 4 March.

“We had to put a limit on numbers entering the race because it’s year one, but we’re delighted that it’s sold out,” she concluded.

“There’ll be a lot going on in Tallaght, so people can come down and see the weary souls crossing the finish line after slogging over the Dublin Mountains.”

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Emma Duffy

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