Irish Mountain
Running Association

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mountain Running?

Mountain Running, also known as "hill running" or "fell running" is a sport which keeps growing every year. It caters for every type of runner from fun runner to dedicated international athletes. Races can vary from 3 km to 128km and are run over of a variety of terrains from forest tracks to rough open mountain sides but all include a large elements of climb. Most races, but not all involve running up and down, the down section is the specialised bit. Improvement and confidence comes with experience and the correct footwear.

How do I distinguish the different type of Races?

League races, by far the more popular are on marked routes and generally are confined to tracks. Championship Races are mainly on open mountains are not marked (except for Munster Championship Races) and require some element of navigation. For races that might require navigation, runners need to have an Ordnance Survey map of the area at a minimum scale of 1:50,000 (or larger if available), and a good compass (Silva, Suunto, etc.). These are available from better outdoor activity shops.

What are League Races?

League races are generally run on marked routes on forest or rough mountain tracks There are three leagues. The Leinster Summer League 13 races run on Wednesday nights during late spring and summer, starting at 5km and building up to 12km.. A winter league of 4/6 races run in Jan/Feb/Mar on Saturday/Sunday mornings and a Trail League in late summer of three races with little climb and mostly on trail.

What are Championship Races?

Championship races are manly run on open mountains and require some element of navigation. There are four Championships. The Irish Championship IC a series of usually 5 races (best three to count) all run up major Irish peaks. Carrauntoohil and Croagh Patrick feature every year. The Munster Championship MC and Leinster Championship LC are similar to the IC but confined to their province. It is common for an IC races also to be at the same time a MC or LC races. The Connacht Championship has two races over the same weekend.

How do I join the Irish Mountain Running Association?

By signing up to MyIMRA online, and then purchasing your annual membership online. Registration lasts for a calendar year. There is a €10 annual registration fee (€5 for juniors & OAPs).

What is the fee to do a race?

Most Race fees are €7 with reduced entry of €5 for juniors & OAPs.

We are no longer accepting cash at races. You may pre-enter the race online (to be done before 6pm the day before the race)

Who does Mountain Running?

League races can attract over 200 runners ranging in age from 14 to 75 and all levels of ability. Championship running is more specialised with smaller numbers racing on unmarked courses in all weathers. Runners may find themselves on their own in mist on exposed mountainsides with the potential of exposure to steep cliffs. As a result, they need to be comfortable with this, and be able to navigate using a map and compass. Beginners should try some of the shorter league races, which involve less climb and easier terrain. As you get fitter, more ambitious, and navigationally competent, you could progress to running up some of Ireland's highest peaks.

Is Mountain Running dangerous?

First off, it is an adventure sport and you do compete at your own risk. That been said, if you are sensible, and tackle something within your ability range, the risks are consistent with falling while running on rough ground. A beginner should not consider emulating an elite runner down a scree slope or venturing out on an open mountain without protective clothing or the means and ability to find their way.

See safety statement.

What do I need to Mountain Run?

The only specialised equipment is the footwear. Normal road running shoes are not suitable for descending. A good idea is to come along to a league race with whatever shoes you have, take it easy coming down and ask the regulars to see their shoes. Most runners use fell running shoes, these have rubber studs. A popular brand of these are "Walshes" or "Inov-8s" and are most commonly bought on-line but try someone else's first for size as they can be narrower than other shoes. Trail running shoes are becoming very popular. They are a compromise between grip and shock absorption. Salomon, Asics, PUMA, and Adidas do good trail shoes. Under good conditions Mountain Running is done in shorts and a flow top but race organisers can insist on full body protection and/or waterproofs. Races in the NC (navigational challenge) have a basic kit requirement which all runners must carry.

What is the Navigational Challenge?

This is a series of three races which in total distance come to 50km, each one longer than the last. To complete the challenge you must do all three. These races are open to mountain navigators only. The only information you have in advance is the starting point and the distance. Route details are issued 30 minutes before the start as a list of grid references which you must visit in order by a route of your choice. All runners must carry a map, whistle, compass, water, some food and a waterproof top irrespective of weather.

What is the Wicklow Way Relay WWR?

This is a team relay race covering 102km on the Wicklow Way. It covers most, but not all, of the Wicklow Way, starting in Kilmashogue Forest and ending in the village of Shillelagh There are 8 legs with lengths that vary from 8 to 17km.Teams can be of any number of members from 2 to 8 but there are restrictions as the numbers get greater. This is a pre-entry event and the number of teams is limited to 30. Route details, rules and an entry form can be found on this site.

What is King/Queen of the Mountains KoM?

This is a competition to find the best climber of the year (many of the races are won in the descent). Three of the principal races each year are nominated as qualifying for KoM points. In these races, the first ten to summit are awarded points. From ten down to one and at season's end whoever has most is declared as KoM/QoM champion.

What is the social scene like?

The numbers participating in Mountain Running have greatly increased in recent years, and this generally has been attributed to the after race "atmosphere". After each race, there is a prize giving gathering usually in a hostelry uniquely associated with that race. The vast majority of the runners go to these gatherings. The summer offers the chance to visit at least 12 different beer gardens to discuss your progress and what awaits you on the next week?s route. We also have an annual dinner dance, summer BBQ and end of winter league gathering. Once drawn into Mountain Running you will be introduced to a world of off road events and camaraderie.

What does "GPS allowed" mean in races

Further to AGM '18 discussions on GPS usage - All IMRA races have been categorised to be G (GPS allowed) or NG (GPS or other similar electronic device are not allowed).

In general any races that are traditionally held on marked route such as Leinster league, trail league, international selection races will be G classified.

All other race shall be designated non-GPS (NG) and the use of any electronic device to aid route finding will be prohibited.

In a NG classifies race, the use of a gps or similar electronic device to display compass, distance travelled, time, speed or altitude will be allowed, as will recording of actual route for post-race analysis.

No map display or route following type function may be used at any time. No race routes or check point locations should be uploaded into such a GPS or similar electronic device.

If such a device is used for route finding in an emergency situation then that competitor should retire from the race and declare themselves non-competitive as should any others that have benefited from this GPS provided information.