Irish Mountain
Running Association

Arderin - Clear Lake Loop

Forum Messages

Gaelan ElliffeApr 11 2022, 10:13am.
Gaelan ElliffeApr 11 2022, 10:20amA very pleasant route race in the Sliebh Bloom Mountains which takes in Offaly and Laois's highest point.

It has a mixture of open mountain, single track and fire road. With over half of the route being on open mountain, it has something for everyone, with some challenging and some very speedy sections. It makes for a good introduction to open mountains running in the Sliebh Blooms albeit a testing one.

At 13.5km and 400m of elevations it is a very pleasant route but not to be underestimated by new mountain runners. Novice mountain runners are advised to consider running the short course. There will be an option of an early start for this race. Those who's finishing time is 160% of the winner are advised to do the early start.

There will be a short course announced on the day. It will be between 4 and 5km and will be all open mountain.

The starting location is an hour from Kilkenny, and just over an hour from theM50 and Limerick.
Gaelan ElliffeApr 11 2022, 10:23amThere is a good team organising this race but we are looking for some more helpers.

Another running volunteer,
a first aider
and a couple of more people to marshal the course.
Pól Ó MurchúApr 11 2022, 6:14pmLooks a cracking route. Hope to make it down to this.
Gaelan ElliffeApr 12 2022, 9:15amGlad to hear it Pol.

I've had great fun bringing people out on this route over the past few years.

Its handy that it's so centrally located for people to drive to
Gaelan ElliffeApr 12 2022, 9:18pmThanks very much to those who have come on board and volunteered over the past few days.

We are still looking for more people to marshall the race. Your help would very much be appreciated.
Matthew BranchApr 13 2022, 10:36amIll do First aid
Gaelan ElliffeApr 13 2022, 6:40pmGood man Matthew
Tom McloughlinApr 14 2022, 11:30pmLooks a cracking route ..looking forward to this one
Matthew BranchApr 15 2022, 8:26pmAnyone traveling up from Cork let me know, you can car pool with me
Gaelan ElliffeApr 16 2022, 11:24pmA big thank you to all those who have volunteered so far.

We still need a few more people to help marshall this fun but challenging course.
Gaelan ElliffeApr 18 2022, 7:35pmI just want to let people know, entries are open for this race, which takes place on Sunday. Vouchers will be accepted on the day.

If anyone has any questions about this race please feel free to ask here.
Matthew SammonApr 18 2022, 9:38pmI ran a similar route a few years ago. It was blooming great.

Hoping to see some familiar faces flying past my marshalling spot on Sunday.
Gaelan ElliffeApr 20 2022, 9:28pmEntries for this race are open until Friday at 18:00

A big thank you to those who have volunteered so far. It is very much appreciated. A couple of more people to help marshall the course would be great.

We have a good crew onboard organising this race it should be great on the day.
Brian SmythApr 20 2022, 11:04pmWas just on the route this eve. Open mountain sections have dried out a lot even since last week ; which is great to see.

This is a great route and a great area for a race folks.
The Slieve Bloom, along with the Massif Central in France, are one of the oldest mountain ranges in Europe; and were also once the highest at 3,700 meters. Unfortunately you won't get that elevation on Sunday, due to good old weathering, but Arderin at 527 meters is just as exciting : ) .
From here, on a clear day, you have spectacular view's of the high points of each of Ireland's provinces. Fingers crossed for Sunday.

It is also believed that the bould Fionn Mac Cumhaill was reared in the Slieve Blooms by his poetic aunties Bovmall and Lia Luachra. Throughout the forests and hills of the range, he learned the art of war and hunting; which he later practiced with the famous band of warriors known as Na Fianna.
Come on folks, you can follow in the footsteps of Fionn Mac Cumhaill for 7 quid. If that doesn't get you up for a race , then surely the wheelbarrow full of Easter eggs consumed last Sunday should.

The route itself is undulating with some techy (and slippy) downhill sections, along with plenty of runnable flat and a few character-building ascents.
As Gaelan previously mentioned, the terrain is mainly fire roads/forest tracks and a good portion of beautiful open mountain (think damp feet).

Looking forward to seeing you all there!!
Gaelan ElliffeApr 21 2022, 10:41amIf those above great reasons from Brian weren't enough, how about the first BUFFALO race?

It is being held on the highest point in Laois and Offaly.

I recall my first IMRA race at Glenbarrow being great fun ( unfortunately it was in Co. Laois)

But this Sunday, Offaly and Laois, lads and lasses get to compete for the BUFFALO crown .All for €7, you'd be mad not to
Gaelan ElliffeApr 22 2022, 7:33pmEntries will be extended for this race as the website was down today.

They will close Saturday at 18:00
sile peavoyApr 22 2022, 8:21pmHi Gaelan, Just missed the deadline. Is there anyway I can enter?
Pól Ó MurchúApr 22 2022, 8:52pmExtended to tomorrow Sile. Should be available to purchase now.
sile peavoyApr 22 2022, 9:12pmThank you
Conor O'FarrellApr 24 2022, 4:15pmThanks to Gaelan and his team today for a great race. Well worth the trip down. Tough route which has something for everyone, plus the distance for those who like that sort of thing. ;-). The marking was some of the best I’ve seen, particularly for the the open mountain section.

Thanks again
Jarlath HynesApr 24 2022, 5:33pmGaelan, you mentioned a 'good team' involved in organising this race in the pre-event promo & it showed today - efficient registration, very well marked course, plenty of marshalls along the route. Thank you & well done to all involved.

As for the race itself, jees... that was tough (& that's in perfect weather in relatively dry underfoot conditions on a boggy route).

IMO straight into the charts, along with Annagh Hill & Mullaghmeen, which is very impressive for a first time race.
Paul JoyceApr 24 2022, 6:02pmIt's quite daunting offering up your local training route for the enjoyment of the wider IMRA community- beyond the obvious showcasing of local trails, there's got to be enough variety to appeal to both the fireroad speedsters and the bog-ploughing specialists; has to appeal to racers all at the front, middle, and tail end of the pack; and has to have some undefined element that will ensure a lot of cursing during the race (and joy after it for having endured!)

Thank you Gaelan and team for delivering a fantastic race today- when I bumped into three of you just back from marking (and what impressive marking!) last night, it was obvious from chatting just how much energy and enthusiasm went into sharing your route today. Well done all your team for delivering such a flawless and enjoyable event!
Niamh KellyApr 24 2022, 9:17pmThank you so much Gaelan for taking this on as RD, what a great race so well organised and the route marking was excellent, especially on the open mountain sections.

Thank you to all who volunteered today, it was great to get a cheer from the friendly marshals out on the course

I think we will be adding this one back into the SEL for next year
Gaelan ElliffeApr 24 2022, 9:20pmConor, Jarlath and Paul, thank you for your kind words.

It is certainly a challenging course with lots of variety in a scenic setting. It was great to see people enjoying themselves and there was some impressive running on display.

There has been some good work put in by the locals of Laois, Offaly and Tipp to make this race happen. There was also a couple of volunteers from Cork, a couple from Carlow and one from Dublin. IMRA really does have a good community and a strong voluntary ethos, this is something which should be championed.

I look forward to welcoming runners to these lesser known mountains in the future. The area has a variety of long and short way marked trails and plenty of open mountain routes to explore and test oneself.
Linda RowdenApr 24 2022, 9:28pmBig thanks to Gaelen and his team for putting on a great race today. Thanks to all the volunteers for their encouragement on the route and a special shout out to the sandwich makers and bakers for the lovely homemade food at the finish. It was lovely to be running somewhere new!
Brian EastwoodApr 24 2022, 9:30pmToday sounded like a great race. Was raging to have missed it as its the closest race to my home home. Can someone please share a Strava link or similar so I can do it over the next few weeks without getting lost in the buffalo wilderness Cheers Brian )
Pól Ó MurchúApr 24 2022, 11:00pmWhat a great race today. Lovely challenging course…had a bit of everything…literally everything! Killer steep climb to start followed by a nice long descent and that was the warmup done…bit of fire road, forest, open mountain, a bit of bog and a lake thrown in…lots of ups, downs and more ups…just about all any mountain could throw at you. So well organised and the marking was possibly one of the best marked courses I’ve seen in a while…we won’t mention the others… :-) Food and refreshments at the finish a real treat and of course winning the raffle clearly the highlight for me!

Strava here:
Joseph BoyleApr 25 2022, 7:50amBrilliant race yesterday Gaelen, definitely one for the calendar next year. As per all the other comments the organisation was first class, the weather played ball, good food and chat at the end but probably best of all was the the enthusiasm of all the volunteers and marshals. Great first outing as a Race Director.
Lillian DeeganApr 25 2022, 12:23pmAs Joe says, this event was Gaelan's 1st RD outing. I'm delighted to see such positive feedback for himself and his race crew.

Gaelan, huge kudos to you and your volunteer team. It sure seems like you've sourced a keeper here. From our side, we deffo know you went all out prep wise ahead of race day. Take a bow - you've done a mighty job! Well done to you and your race team.
Paul O BrienApr 25 2022, 3:49pmA great race put on by Gaelan and crew yesterday. Was probably the best marked route I have seen at an imra race. Race had everything a runner would like. The parking and sign in was a breeze. I would expect bigger numbers next year when word spreads.
Gaelan ElliffeApr 25 2022, 10:45pmThe first IMRA race I attended was three years ago at Glenbarrow, my local trail and one of my favourite places to run. Conor O'Farrell RD and Niamh Kelly SouthEast-League Director did a great job and made me feel welcome on the day. It was evident there was a positive and friendly vibe in the IMRA community.

A couple of months later, I brought Matthew Sammon to the Sliabh Blooms and promised a run somewhere more remote. He quickly commented it would make a great IMRA race. This was at the back of my mind for some time and when I would bump into Brian Smyth at races, we'd be huffing and puffing on slopes saying to each other: when are we arranging that Slieve Bloom race...?

Last October I brought a group out on the Arderin- Clear Lake loop and despite the very wet underfoot conditions everyone was giving good feedback. George Flynn emphatically and enthusiastically said, yes count me in if you are organising this as a race. I guess I had talked myself into a RD role. There was no getting out now.

There has been lots of positive feedback from people regarding yesterdays race. Thank you. It makes us very pleased to see people enjoying the Slieve Blooms and running really well in the great location.

Stepping up to RD this race was a lot easier than it could have been because of IMRA's Niamh Kelly and Lillian Deegan. Both along with Brian Smyth and George Flynn helped organise and mark the course. Others played a part too in the run up while yesterdays large band of volunteers were great on the day.

Brian's has a vast knowledge of the mountains and George's enthusiasm for mountain running is infectious. We all brought different strengths to the mix and worked well as a team.

The roundabout point I'm making is that if you think you have the skills needed to organise and RD a race, go for it. Talk to your local league director, help out and volunteer at local races, try to attend some RD training but also reach out to experienced runners in your area. When knowledge and collective enthusiasm comes together it can drive each other on.

Over the coming years I look forward to helping organise this and other races in the Slieve Blooms.
Maire O'SullivanApr 26 2022, 11:17amI'm late to the forum but I had to add my congratulations to the team involved in organising this race - it was a craicing event! Brutal on the legs but I loved it. There really was a bit of everything underfoot - challenging but I loved it. And the marking was excellent, there was no chance even someone like me could get lost :-) I'd definitely come to this race next year again if it's on. And I'd highly recommend it to others. Well done all on this fabulous addition to the calendar!