Irish Mountain
Running Association

Fraughan Rock Glen

Forum Messages

Paul SmythFeb 21 2023, 4:03pmIt seems a shame that this event is currently scheduled for the same weekend as the Reeks weekend. Is there any possibility of scheduling it for a different weekend?
Lillian DeeganMar 20 2023, 4:27pmHi Paul & all,

This event will move to June 4th. Many thanks to Liam for taking on the event as RD. We'll get the calendar update done in short.
liam kennyMay 2 2023, 8:49amlooking for few more volunteers for event please,

we will be going with pen and paper so no need for lap top,

liam kennyMay 9 2023, 6:05pmFrom looking at previous results Bernard fortune seems to be the man to beat on fraughan rock with 1st in last 6 outings for the Wexford man,
liam kennyMay 9 2023, 6:09pmNo pressure Brian Fury
Paul SmythMay 9 2023, 6:38pmI note with dismay that the route description states 'free route choice'. I do not believe this was the intention behind the original route design as seems clear from the route map.

There is now a walkers track the whole way to the summit where there wasn't originally, and while a bit longer, it is easier ground and much less steep. I believe it is the fastest route to the top but it completely avoids the upper part of the Fraughen Rock Glen. If you allow free route choice is is not the same race as originally concieved and is all the lesser for it.

The 'free route choice' seems to have appeared with the 2022 race as I cannot find mention of it before then.
liam kennyMay 9 2023, 7:28pmHi Paul

I'll take your comments on board and bring to committee to see what is right or wrong and up date on there comments, unfortunately I don't know history of routes from previous races
Mick HanneyMay 9 2023, 10:22pmI believe free choice was always implied but the majority of runners would tend to go the direct line. I have gone both ways, but the wide, more runnable way, is longer and slower, not helped by me getting slower!
Paul SmythMay 9 2023, 10:47pmFrom the 2009 event (the first):

This is an uncompromising open mountainside race. Once above the 400m contour you will be in trackless wilderness. This section of the race will not be marked so you will need to familiarise yourself with the route beforehand or have strong navigational abilities.

IMPORTANT Keep the river/stream to your left when climbing and too your right when descending. Failure to do so could lead you onto dangerous cliffs.
Stuart ScottMay 10 2023, 9:12amHi Paul. I'm not sure what the issue is. Surely the free route choice caters for all? Runners can recce if they wish (same as with any other championship race) or else take a chance and hope their chosen route is the fastest? The alternative is marking a particular route but that would be a nightmare, and contrary to the spirit of the championship races.
Andrew HanneyMay 10 2023, 10:41amI think 2022 was an exception, the blind leading the blind. If anything, people found that the runnable track took them just as much time or longer than the traditional route. They probably saw it as a safer bet nav wise.
Niamh O'CeallaighMay 10 2023, 10:52amFolks, I was race director in 2022 and have either taken part or volunteered in this race almost every year it has been on because it is a class race.

It has always had free route choice. Nothing has changed. 2022 was no exception. If the wording on the event page was different, that is just simply because I didn't copy and paste from previous years pages.

Choose your route, hope for lots of rain so you can slide down on your arse at high speed and you'll be flying.
Paul SmythMay 10 2023, 11:45amThe difference is length is about 200 m each way, which is more than compensated for by the easier ground and lower gradient. The net result will be be that everyone will eventually end up taking the track rather than traversing the upper part of the glen. It my not happen immediately but within a year or two I believe it will. It becomes just another trot on a bog path.

I'm not proposing that the route be marked BTW.
Eoin KeithMay 10 2023, 11:56amThat's reality Paul. We can't preserve the mountains in perpetuity as they are.

All routes change all the time. Tracks get constructed, or eroded in. Vegetation grows and dies. Changes happen. Different weather might make different routes better or worse on any given day.

It has always been open routing in this race. That's part of the fun. Changes are one of the thing that make it more fun.
Paul SmythMay 10 2023, 1:32pmHere's some feedback from a competitor at a previous race:

It is a true test of mountain running skills - strength, endurance and speed. Tough climb, technical descent, I was going down vertical banks, down through heather, bog, short grass, rock, steep alpine style track, roots - not much else it could throw at me.

Which will now become something like:

Yeah, I just ran up the walker's track to the top and back down the same way. It's pretty easy.
liam kennyMay 10 2023, 1:52pmpaul

looks i wont be asking you for race report, look forward to seeing your route on race day
Brian FureyMay 10 2023, 2:03pmI think with the zig zags now not open to the public, it is inevitable tht there will be more footfall going up that glen. Hence more defined path. Also means car park there is mainly full most of the time so may impact race parking.
David PowerMay 10 2023, 2:27pmNot sure I've heard anyone say a climb up Lug is "pretty easy", but no doubt record times will be set this year, given all the analysis here.
Paul SmythMay 10 2023, 2:30pmI've uploaded a copy of the map showing the walkers path (dashed line).
liam kennyMay 10 2023, 2:38pmThanks brian fair point on parking, i will get up sunday morning and see what car park is like, and see can alternative parking be sourced if needs be
Alan KennedyMay 10 2023, 2:53pmCan someone mark the map where the slidey bit is that Niamh mentioned??
Mike JordanMay 10 2023, 2:56pmWhile we're on the subject, can we give our native berries their due and correct the spelling of the race to 'Fraughan' rather than 'fraughen' please? I'll also accept 'Bilberry Stone Valley' as an alternative race name.
Richard FoxMay 10 2023, 2:57pmLiam as well as the car park at Baravore, which is a reasonable size, there is also decent space across the ford and along the track towards the hostel and even further along the track where I have seen cars park. Might be worth having a look at that too?
liam kennyMay 10 2023, 3:28pmthanks foxy myself and mick heading up sunday for a look, seems you are the man for the parking on the day now
Jeff SwordsMay 10 2023, 3:31pm@Alan, I'll dig out my Strava from when I last ran this race and show it to you.
Although I found it quite accidentally when I lost the feint trail and outline of the runner ahead of me coming back off the summit in low cloud and figured that I'd just try the steepest way down in the hope it would get me to the finish quicker. It didn't.

It was one of those days in which the start/finish was bathed in glorious sunshine but once 2/3 of the way up you'd see nothing.
Conor O'FarrellMay 11 2023, 7:35pm@Mike; as you wish....!!!
liam kennyMay 28 2023, 6:50pmHi all we have enough volunteers for this, I declined a number of requests for volunteering for this, this is a low maintenance race so no need for big numbers, please have a look at other races on the calendar who may need extra people, thanks
liam kennyMay 29 2023, 11:13amentries open tomorrow at 9, also we will keep with the championship bake off if anyone fancies to try top Clare's protein balls or Micks cake,
Andy KeelingMay 29 2023, 1:09pmI'm with Mike Jordan on this one. One question though. Are berries consumed on the (freely chosen) route allowed to be consumed in addition to mandatory kit calories??????????
liam kennyMay 29 2023, 1:55pmAndy if you see berries at the CP marker by all means fill your belly
Andy KeelingMay 29 2023, 2:57pmOh I will. Might even bring some back to go on the bake off cakes at the finish.
Graham K. BusheMay 29 2023, 3:32pmHi all, I have just turned my attention back to this race and notice the addition of a control kite. Last year was the first time I ran this race. One of the great appeals of these Championship races is the option of free route choice. Take yesterday's Drumgoff race for example. After signing in and greeting fellow runners, all focus and chat cantered on what lines and routes people were about to take (some disclosing more than others, ha, ha). Some chose a bit of road and climb, some chose straight up, and others opted for the circuitous fire road. Part of the appeal is that runners hope to pick a route to suit their strengths. How satisfying it is when your chosen route has popped you just ahead of your rivals, (or at least hasn’t lost you too much ground!) And if this “amendment” to the route is to deter people from taking the “Easy Path” to the top and gaining “Advantage”, I would like to point out that, as far as I am aware, the first 4 runners in ’22 chose the tough climb and descent! For my part, as I chased Gareth Little down from Lug I decided to ‘cut a corner’, hoping to sneak ahead… in that 1 split-second decision I lost 2 and a half minutes. But that’s what comes with these races….
What about the runners who would be more comfortable with opting for an alternative route because they are not as confident in their climbing or descending? Yes, these are Championship races, but would we not like to see more people getting involved? Building their ability and confidence.
Niall CorriganMay 29 2023, 8:45pmHi, I would just like to say I totally agree with Graham. Although I won’t be at this race and have not done it in the past I am a regular visitor to Lug and one of the great pleasures in life is that descent down “the walkers path”. It’s a pleasure because it is eminently runable, A compromise maybe might be to allow free route choice on the descent, this brings everyone up through the upper glen but enables those not so confident of their navigation or descending skills to avoid shuffling on their asses down the green corner should their choice of line not be optimal.
liam kennyMay 30 2023, 9:49amentries now open
Bernard FortuneMay 30 2023, 11:26amI'm with Graham and Niall ;-)
But happy to comply with RDs instructions ;-)
Mick HanneyMay 30 2023, 12:23pmLast comment was me, not Bernard. Mea culpa.
Lillian DeeganMay 31 2023, 8:41amMorning all,
It’s great seeing the running commentary on this one. Bernard’s winks in particular amused me.

I’m on to note this years race will be as per event page. At our last committee sitting we had a discussion around the pros and cons of what would be best. And while on another IMRA dial-in last night, I double checked where we stood. As above, this race will be as per event page.
Mick HanneyMay 31 2023, 11:01pmIf you are on the fence on this one, sign up, its going to be fraughan great.
Richard FoxJun 1 2023, 9:17amIt’s true to say that one can never guarantee what the weather can throw at you going up Lug but there’s a sense that this weekend looks settled with sun, sun, sun all the way (bearing in mind that this is Lug and variables in weather predictions always exist). If it is as predicted though it will be glorious and will mean an absolutely amazing race for all (once regulatory kit and caboodle and appropriate nav skills noted). Lots of water, nutrition and sun block required. Is there ever an easy race up Lug? Definitely not but this could be one for the ages and although the slidey bit so eloquently described earlier by Niamh may not be available there will be great going in other areas. Whatever about flying (or not flying) kites and whatever about Fraughen or froughen or berries watch out for the remnants of some wonderful quality mushrooms with hallucinogenic properties and which, local legend has it (not that I would know anything about this, of course) exist in abundance during their growing season in this extraordinary part of Wicklow. And a bank holiday to boot - what an incredible opportunity to get this one done.
Alan AylingJun 2 2023, 10:16amThanks for the heads up Foxy.
I will likely be doing a recce of this route in late September if anyone wants to join me...
Richard FoxJun 2 2023, 4:18pmCould be a high light ok Alan
Cool out man
Richard FoxJun 2 2023, 5:56pmThis is just a very last minute thing for those coming to fly their kites along Fraughen Rock Glen on Sunday. I live pretty close to the race location and have a few friends (totally non IMRA) coming down over the bank holiday weekend to camp in one of my fields (all very basic facilities etc). Anyway with the weekend that’s in it and fab weather etc etc I was wondering if anyone would like to stay over (either Saturday and/or Sunday). As mentioned very basic although we do have a pool in the river and the sauna will be lit at some stage during both evenings. There’ll be a diy barbecue and it’ll all be byo etc etc. So if ya fancy a night in the wilds a Wickla let me know.
foxy 087 9155320
liam kennyJun 2 2023, 8:40pmEntry closes tomorrow evening at 6, looking through list of entrants some interesting battles gonna take place sunday, m 50 cat well stacked along with some top class ladies running, entertaining day indeed
Derek HayJun 4 2023, 4:56pmA big thanks to Liam and the team of volunteers for giving up their day today. A tough course but there was a great atmosphere throughout, well done!
Peter O'FarrellJun 4 2023, 5:13pmWhat a super race, what a super day, if only every race was like this - well done to Liam Kenny and his fantastic band of volunteers on a great event.
Andy KeelingJun 4 2023, 5:50pmThanks to all the crew on today's race. Very enjoyable all round. What a day.
Mick HanneyJun 4 2023, 6:10pmThe Leinster Champs is where it is at! Kudos to Liam for taking on his first RD assignment and passing with flying colours. Thanks Liam, Amanda and the kids and the rest of the volunteers who had to work through a hot afternoon while we all 'enjoyed' ourselves up and down Lug.
Mick HanneyJun 4 2023, 6:13pmNow that we've tried it, I personally don't think the addition of the CP added to the event. Majority of runners went that way anyway. In a way all it did was create extra, unnecessary work for the RD, who has had to put a kite out on a remote area of mountain and will have to go back and retrieve it. I'm all for minimising work if we can.
Anna MichaelJun 4 2023, 7:17pmWell done to Liam and all the volunteers for their time and hard work today. The spread afterwards was much allreciated too! What a super race.
Brian EastwoodJun 4 2023, 8:04pmWell done Liam and all the volunteers.
Fair play to all the runners on a tough but enjoyable day out today .
Some serious climbs there.
Hope everyone is putting the feet up with a drink of choice
Seán HigginsJun 4 2023, 9:23pmSuper day racing thanks to Liam and volunteers for the opportunity of slogging it out on the slopes of Lug. Well done all.
Alan AylingJun 4 2023, 10:53pmI wasn't at the race, so maybe not in a position to comment... but Mick I'm afraid your comment doesn't completely make sense! Surely runners went that way BECAUSE there was a mandatory point? Had there not been a checkpoint, would runners have gone that way or favoured the new path on the flanks of Benleagh? Speculation at best?
Mick HanneyJun 5 2023, 8:12amSorry I should have been clearer. We have done this race many times over the years and history shows that the majority of runners favour going to Lug on that particular approach. After the race, the people I spoke to had mixed feelings about whether the CP added to the event or not thats all.
Andy KeelingJun 5 2023, 8:12amI think possible what mick meant is that there was no need for a specific point(kite) to be visited as most people would agree the fastest route would be to go roughly that way anyway. Still loads of route choice in that general direction. But there are also people who mould maybe not be as competitive and like an easy jaunt up the walking track.
I agree that the kite was a but of an unnecessary addition to the race. The reason I think I like the LC Is that it's where you find a lot of open mountain and free route choice races. In my opinion this is what distinguishes it from the LL and the other race series'. Free route choice makes it interesting. Let the peaks be the checkpoints. The nav challenge series is there for the kite lovers. But that's just my humble opinion. Still was a great race.
Paul SmythJun 5 2023, 11:39am@Mick: Let me ask you a question. If the only point that must be visited on this race is the summit of Lug., then which route would you take?

Mick HanneyJun 5 2023, 12:09pmI've done this race 8 times Paul. I think I've done the direct line on 6 occasions, longer runnable approach once, went completely wrong once (poor visibility day).
Gavan DohertyJun 5 2023, 12:10pmAbsolutely glorious day - thanks to Liam and volunteers!

As for Paul's question I think it's a good one. If Lug were the only checkpoint it'd still depend on weather/conditions for me. Bad visibility stick with the path, wet underfoot but clear I might take the track up but slide straight down...
I think there would be plenty of divergence of routes without an intermediary checkpoint but the joy of IMRA is that anyone else can RD next year and put their own stamp on it!

Well done Liam!
Paul SmythJun 5 2023, 12:20pmYes Mick, but which route would you CHOOSE to go now?
Peter O'FarrellJun 5 2023, 5:32pmTo answer Paul's question in a roundabout fashion - like many of the other folk I feel I should have the choice.
Mandatory checkpoints that are neither summits or glacier lakes take away some of the fun in these unmarked races.

Assuming the notion of mandatory use of the steep glen is kept again for next time I liked Niall Corrigan's compromise suggestion of free route choice on the descent. At the very least it would have saved a couple of lads going back up to touch a kite and as Niall says in manky weather the other route is both less technical and safer to find.
The other (minor) problem with the kite is folk following the spirit of the rule and passing within 50m of the kite without touching it - presumably reasoning that they are indeed in the designated glen/valley but it's the type of rule that could lead to an unneeded DSQ in over zealous hands.

And well done Bernard and Anna on the wins and the rest of us on the having a great time.
Louis MulleeJun 5 2023, 9:40pmThanks Liam and all the volunteers and runners for another wonderful day in the hills, not to mention the sandwiches and food at the end all made for a very enjoyable outing......

Ill be feeling as high as a kite for days! :)
Brian FureyJun 5 2023, 10:40pmThanks for putting on the race Liam. As regards the mandatory orienteering flag, I'm in agreement with Peter that it actually restricts runners on the way down. It's open mountain so you're not only restricting runners from running down the walkers path but also many others lines on the open mountain. Also your race is over (from competitive point of view) if you miss that exact gully as costs alot of time to go back up to the flag.
Stuart ScottJun 6 2023, 9:53amI've followed the route choice discussion with interest. I can identify both sides of the argument - fine nav skills should not be required but just as equally, it's an open mountain race and not a trail run. With the new path, it's likely the traditional race will never be the same again.

So how about adding Clohernagh summit together with Lug as the mandatory checkpoints instead? Route choice and direction can be left up to the individual. It makes a nice circular route with plenty of options, and both summits 'should' be easy enough to find!
Adrian HennessyJun 6 2023, 9:57amWell done to Liam and his team for putting on a great race.

I'm not all that clear on what the intention of the CP kite was i.e. to keep everyone on roughly the same route to avoid getting lost, avoid erosion on the path, or add a nav challenge element. Whatever the reason, my tuppence worth is that it's unnecessary in a Leinster champs race. This is a short race up and down the same valley. Sure, there is potential to go wrong, but anyone taking on a Leinster champs race has the experience to cope with that. If the reason is to avoid erosion on the main path, then I think the best option is no CP as it will guarantee a wide spread of route choices across the valley. That could change in the future if new paths develop, vegetation gets burnt etc., but for now, I don't think we need a CP other than Lug.
Gareth LittleJun 6 2023, 12:33pmThank you to Liam and crew for allowing us to have a magnificent day out in the hills and well done Liam for taking this on as your 1st RD job! This race is the definition on mountain running for me and adding in that weather and the food at the finish just made it the perfect day out in every regard.

In terms of the checkpoint, I really don’t see the need for it and would hope note to see it return in future iterations of this race.

Most people know that going up and down by Britas Brook is the quickest option (and the most fun!) so most people will continue to take that option, but if others want to go the other way, for whatever the reasons, then that should be an option for them too. The beauty of these Leinster championship races, amongst many other things, is all the chat about route choice both before and after the race and the not knowing of who exactly is in front of you or behind you during the race.
Alan AylingJun 6 2023, 5:37pmThanks everyone for the input.

To clarify the reason for the control point... it was brought to the committee's attention some time ago that the new walkers' path was felt to be the fastest and thus preferred route for most if not all runners. Further, that would change the character of the race significantly and not in a good way (subjective, I realise). The mandatory control point was intended to force runners into the upper valley, eliminating the dull but possibly faster new path. After considerable discussion of the various merits, the committee decision was that for this occasion preserving the character of what always worked well as a race route was more important than free route choice.

It seems from opinions on the forum at least that a great many runners contend that the Brittas Brook route is in fact faster. The aim was to place the kite in a very visible spot on a feature that could also be navigated using the map. Runners having difficulty finding it on the way down was something we didn't envisage.

All this can be borne in mind for the future.

There's always room for debate about how much free route choice should be allowed. Sometimes there's no reason to restrict it, sometimes there are good reasons, e.g. avoiding dangerously steep or craggy ground (Mweelrea) or private land (WGL even before the zigzags closure). The committee will take input and listen to opinions, but isn't obliged to bow to any one opinion over another... and sometimes we can't please everyone.

From the sound of it, kite contentions aside, people seem to have enjoyed the race. That and everyone getting back safely are the really important things.

A big thanks to Liam for taking on the RD role.