Irish Mountain
Running Association

Circuit of Avonbeg

Forum Messages

Paul NolanJan 17 2011, 11:39amFor the 2011 the Circuit of Avonbeg consists of the following checkpoints which must be visited in order

T 079 928 Start - Bridge (Manned – start 11:00)
T 058 930 Arts Lough
T 058 918 Clohernagh
T 032 917 Lugnaquilla
T 023 960 Camenabologue (Manned – cut off time 14:00)
T 040 972 Conavalla
T 072 954 Lugduff
T 086 942 Saddle (Manned – cut off time 15:30)
T 093 938 Mullacor
T 081 927 Finish – Car park (Manned – cut off time 16:30)

In a change from last year 3 manned check points with cut off times have been added.
Also the location of the second control point from the 2010 race has been moved to a new location.

Maps which cover the race area include:

EastWest Mapping Lugnaquilla & Glendalough 1:30,000
Harveys Wicklow Mountains 1:30,000
Glendalough Glenmalur 1:25,000
OSI No 56 1:50,000

The EastWest map is recommended with the Harveys second best.
Users of the other two maps will be at a disadvantage early and late in the race due to poor track depiction.


Due to the nature of this race the following MUST be carried
1. A whistle
2. Race area map and compass
3. Weather protection clothing as dictated by the Race Director on the day, this may take the form of light rain coat, hat, gloves etc.
4. Space blanket
5. Water & food to sustain you over the course of the race

Failure to possess 1 to 5 of the above at registration or race start will result in your entry to the race being refused.
Failure to possess 1 to 4 of the above while finishing will result in your disqualification from the race.

Please arrive with the above mentioned items, they are for your safety.
A mobile phone may be carried however start/finish area is out of coverage.

Brief route description:

From the start follow the zig zag track to Arts Lough. After the junction at T 070 928 this track becomes a rough firebreak. Only the EastWest map shows the end of the zig zag path accurately, therefore a very short section will be marked on the ground with tape to bring runners through the correct gap in the trees to gain access to the open mountain and track to Arts Lough. There will be an orienteering control kite fixed to the fence adjacent to the South East end of the Lough. Runners MUST visit this control and use the pin punch to mark their race number. This will be demonstrated at the start.

Depart the Lough in a South Eastern direction to climb the natural shelf in the land with small footpath leading up to Clohernagh. Depart Clohernagh summit due west, up along the broad ridge to Lugnaquilla.

From Lugnaquilla, head north to Camenabologue. Approximately the first kilometre is trackless but the remainder of this section can be followed on a walker's track without too much difficulty. Camenabologue will be manned with a cut off time of 14:00. Runners not arriving on time will be timed out and MUST make their way directly to the finish.

From Camenabologue the next checkpoint is Conavalla. A mostly direct route offers easier navigation but a more circular route closer to Table Mountain may provide easier running ground. Prior route checking is recommended.

Next checkpoint is Lugduff. From Conavalla careful navigation is required to gain the correct spur leading to the Lugduff ridge.

From Lugduff continue south east along the ridge towards Mullacor, the final summit of the race. There is a walker’s track along this section. The second manned cut off point will be at the base of Mullacor where the Wicklow Way crosses the saddle. Runners not arriving at this point by 15:30 will be timed out and MUST make their way directly to the finish.

Descend Mullacor down to the finish in Ballinafunshoge car park. The finish will close at 16:30. Runners arriving at this point afterwards will be recorded as DNFs. Again prior checking of the route down to this junction is recommended as there are many options. The miners track down to the car park can be busy so please be courteous to others using it.

Prize giving will be in the car park.

Final word:

Last year this race was run in perfect conditions. The finish times speak for themselves. Should the conditions be less benign the times will be even longer. Please prepare yourselves mentally and physically before entering this race.

Paul Nolan
Race Director
Brían O'MearaJan 17 2011, 12:40pmLets hope for less benign conditions this year. That should separate the sheep from the goats.. (Baa..)
Gareth LittleFeb 5 2011, 6:23pmHi Paul or anyone who knows the course,

On the e/w map after the zig zags at the start of the course there are two gaps in the trees leading to open mountain and Arts Lough. Is it the first longer gap or the second shorter gap that should be taken?


Paul NolanFeb 5 2011, 7:49pmHi Gareth

Last year I marked a gap in the trees that led to the second shorter gap. This was mainly from an aesthetic point of the view as this route offers amazing views of the Benleagh cliffs.
Many of the runner's opted to take the narrow ride up to the boots symbol on the EastWest map.
The choice is entirely yours. You can time it and then sow seeds of deception :-)
Gareth LittleFeb 5 2011, 8:02pmCheers Paul for the quick response. I was out today having a nose around the start of the course up as far as the Lug summit. Let's hope it's dried up come race day! I would have been drier in a bath at home!!
gina ortizFeb 22 2011, 8:41pmHi Paul,
I was interested in running the circuit of avonberg. I would be coming for the first time to ireland from New Mexico (united states). Is this a very scenic race? How far from dublin? thanks, gina
Mick HanneyFeb 22 2011, 10:00pmVery scenic.. if we get the weather like last year. See photos here:
Gareth LittleMar 29 2011, 9:07pmI'm provisionally doing a recce hike of the full course on the 9th of Apr. Mail or text me if interested. o87 9573217 /
Paul NolanApr 7 2011, 1:03pmCALL FOR SUMMIT MARSHALS

I'm going to need two marshals to man checkpoints for the race. Applications for these rewarding positions are now open.
Mick HanneyApr 7 2011, 9:30pmGo on then. I'll collect my reward when I pass 'go'.
Paul JoyceApr 7 2011, 9:35pmI don't know Mick... what has Paul Nolan ever done for imra?

G'wan so, you have your second. Just don't give out spot prizes before we get down (like that clown directing Annagh did for his summit marshalls...)
Gareth LittleApr 8 2011, 9:20am
The above mentioned rece hike of the route is going ahead tomorrow. There are 4 of us taking part. We are meeting at the roundabout at kilmacanogue just after the garage at 08:30 and plan to start at about 09:00

All welcome
Paul NolanApr 8 2011, 4:09pm@ Mick & Paul Thanks lads.

Anyone else? I know both of the boys above harbor slight hopes to run. It would be nice to hear from someone definitely not running.

"what has Paul Nolan ever done for imra?"
Not as much as IMRA has done for me over the years.
Ronan HickeyApr 12 2011, 4:48pmall right..I guess it's about time I tried out those "laptop skillz". Surely at the CoA there should be plenty of time between runners :-)

Mick HanneyApr 12 2011, 4:52pmI'd suggest your volunteering for CoA could be put to better use Ronan. CoA suits a pen and paper approach as it spans so many hours. The laptop battery won't last that long...
Ronan HickeyApr 12 2011, 5:00pmDamn! Are you saying I won't be able to get away with volunteering as a marker or demarker either? ;-) Ok Paul N, since I've stuck my head over the parapet you can pick whatever non-running volunteer slot suits you best. CoA is a bridge too far for me this year I reckon so I won't be running it. I don't mind doing a summit marshall role if you want to free up Mr. Hanney or Mr. Joyce

Paul NolanApr 12 2011, 7:10pmHi Ronan

Didn't you know laptops are banned at LC races? :-)

Should you wish to take away paper results to type up for submitting to the website then that would be appreciated.

Currently I've three summit marshal volunteers, if you want to add your name then that would release both Mick and Paul, saving them fighting over a run. Something I'm sure they would be grateful for.
Ronan HickeyApr 12 2011, 10:24pmAhh I'd forgotten about the LC luddites!! I'll leave the camera at home too..maybe do a few sketches :-) Yeah, grand put me down for a summit marshall spot then, I couldn't deal with the guilt of denying someone a chance to race! :-)

Brían O'MearaApr 15 2011, 1:44pmIn terms of the mandatory items, and just to be difficult... I presume a bivvy-bag will do in place of a space blanket?
Colm HillApr 15 2011, 2:10pmFrom a safety point of view, I'd prefer a bivvy bag over a foil blanket. So I would say it is a better choice.
I had a foil blanket on top of Tonelagee over the winter and the wind just ripped it to shreads...

If you don't have a foil blanket, I just came up of an awesome idea.
What you do is this, go to the press and cut out a 2" x 1" piece of tinfoil. Get a tissue and fold it into a 1" square. Then, carefully fold the piece of tinfoil around the tissue so that it forms a 1" square piece of foil.
You have to be careful to not crinkle the foil when folding or the RD will get suspicious... Its now lighter than a foil blanket and looks perfect! :)
Mick HanneyApr 15 2011, 2:47pmCue RD mental note to inspect each foil blanket in unwrapped form.
Paul NolanApr 15 2011, 9:33pm@Brian

A bivvy bag will do. As Colm said it's more effective than a foil blanket, just a lot bulkier and heavier.
Tamas FarkasApr 16 2011, 10:29amHi,
Anybody wants to do a recce for this race on 23rd April, Saturday? You can reach me at or 0872348903. Cheers!
Rosalind HusseyMay 5 2011, 1:02pmComing from a sport that is really benefiting from technological advances in recent years - orienteering - I'd like to suggest that this is a hill race that could really benefit from the same technology.
Use of SI with control points at the top of each peak onroute would really improve analysis and geeking following the race. It would be interesting to compare "spilts" of the various stages of the race. This would require a bit more organisation than usual but much less than any orienteering race, should would be eaily done.
Paul NolanMay 5 2011, 3:25pm@Rosalind
What you say is quite true. Comparing slipts after the race would be interesting for those so inclinded. If you wish to setup and operate SI for the event I'd be happy to have it.

On the subject of volunteering, can those who have signed up to help for this race please email me at b e e c h w o o d <at> ireland <dot> com

Peter O'FarrellMay 5 2011, 3:26pmroslind, great idea however if all the geeks wear working GPS watches and pre-agree where to hit the lap button (and hit the lap button :) we can do all that and save the organiser the need for SI controls.

Colm did up a very good map of race tracks from last year which we could jazz up to include splits, time gained/lost, overall time and so on.
Mick HanneyMay 5 2011, 3:37pmSI controls would be great but thats another volunteer that would need to be out early walking the route. Because of the walking traffic on the likes of Lug there is no guarantee the SI wouldn't be tampered with. You'd probably need a static marshall. All this for an event that has been slow in attracting help so far I'm afraid.
Kevin O'RiordanMay 5 2011, 3:41pmAt €100 per SI control, tampering certainly would be a concern. Most orienteering events have the controls stationed off the beaten track. I remember controls going missing at one of Joe Lalor's nav challenge events a while back.
Stuart ScottMay 5 2011, 3:50pmSI would be great to have. The marshalls could bring the controls up so it wouldn't necessarily need more manpower. Unfortunately I can't make the race but I'd be happy to operate SI for one of the others Paul if you'd like?

I wouldn't be that concerned about tampering, bar the summit of Lug maybe. Orienteering controls were left up on Brockagh for a couple of days last weekend, some in highly visible areas and were fine. A lock and chain would be a simple solution if necessary.

aidan RoeMay 8 2011, 2:24pmRoute choice between Camenabologue and Conavalla?
After running this recently and loosing both shoes at least twice, I went back to map to see if there's another way round. A descent from junction at low point (697m) along track down into Glenmalure will bring you to a fire road. At fire road turn left and staying left on track will leave you just shy of top of Conavalla. It looks a lot easier than the the more natural looking route, towards the 3 lakes and then east from there and in bad visibility would make navigating much easier. so much so, I have to ask is this permitted or against the spirit of route. it is a thing of beauty and shouldn't be fiddled with to much.
barring this, the 3 lakes option would be an ideal opportunity for the bare foot running brigade to strut there stuff.
i'm using the east/west mapping.
Paul NolanMay 8 2011, 7:49pm@Aidan

So long as you visit the nominated checkpoints in order the route is entirely up to you. The Marshal is on Camenabologue rather than Tanle Track to keep as many options in play.

If I found myself compelled for some reason to use the track you mention I'd start by leaving Camenabologue in a E-NE direction aiming to use the firebreak down onto Table Track to save a km of running :-)
Brían O'MearaMay 9 2011, 4:35pmFor those of us coming from out foreign, what's the ground like? I'd imagine fairly dry, but then again I don't think I've ever had entirely dry ground in Wickla. Here's hoping for mucky weather...
Paul O'GradyMay 9 2011, 11:56pmBest of luck to all those competing this year - it was my adventure of the season last year but unfortunately this year I have exams.

I'm very jealous - best race in the calendar by far.

Don ShortMay 12 2011, 5:12pmPaul, could I start at 10:30 to give the others the pleasure of passing me on Clogherneagh

Don Short
Don ShortMay 12 2011, 5:13pmPaul, could I start at 10:30 to give the others the pleasure of passing me on Clogherneagh

Don Short
Paul NolanMay 12 2011, 5:32pmNo problem Don, just make sure to sign registration form.

The plan at the moment is to have registration up and running at 10am.
Mick HanneyMay 14 2011, 5:13pmThanks to Paul for a great race today. Conditions a bit tougher than last year but still very enjoyable and an epic testing route.

Thanks too in particular to the volunteers who had to go out on the mountain for marking and control duty. A hard station the way the weather changed. Hats off to you guys.
Zoran SkrbaMay 14 2011, 5:43pmsame here... thanks to Paul and summit marshals, and well done to Colm for achieving his goal of beating the last year's winning time.
Colm HillMay 14 2011, 6:11pmThanks a million guys. To the two summit marshals that got lashed upon multiple times, thank you for sitting there throughout. Its a horrible job.

Glad to see the event ran smoothly. A hell of a lot can go wrong when people get up high into the mist.
Ken CowleyMay 14 2011, 7:34pmShort report.

A truly spectacular race today. Relatively lucky with the weather, at the start I didn’t think visibility was going to be good, but it picked up, and from the top of Lugnaquilla we could even see the sea! Otherwise it was chilly, windy, sunny at times, and about 3 big showers, but could have been worse.

Anyway, thanks to Aidan for all his navigational help around the course – we kept apace with each other for most of the race, and when we separated, I did get a bit lost I must confess, and wasted quite a bit of time scrambling around in miscellaneous forests near Conavalla, including falling on my ear more than once!

But, to start at the beginning – we took our time going up Lug (the first of about 6 peaks we were to climb), making it in a comfortable 90 minutes.
From there, we had the most enjoyable part of the race - must have been quite a few miles of the most blissful downhill mountain running you’re likely to come across.
From there it was up to Camenabologue, the first manned checkpoint, and then down to the bottom of the valley, from where my aforementioned adventures happened.
But, no harm done (apart from getting soaked and a lot of minor scrapes on my leg), and managed to catch up with Aidan somewhere between Lugduff and Mullacor (the final manned checkpoint).

By that stage the whole field (35 runners) had got very spread out, and indeed I hardly saw anybody throughout the 2nd half of the race – of course by the time I got to Mullacor, the winners – and well done to Colm Hill on a sensational winning time of 2.30 ish (I think) would have long been in the clubhouse (so to speak).

Anyway, from Mullacor, it was basically down to the Wicklow Way, and a slow trudge back to the finish line, which I crossed in a not so impressive 4 hrs 35 mins.
But, hey, at least 30 mins of that was spent going the wrong way!
The entire race is approx 1100 metres of ascent, and is approx 26 kilometres in length, although I reckon I ran closer to 30.
So, lessons learned for next year (brush up on my navigational skills), and a great day out in the Glenmalure Valley (the most scenic part of Wicklow).

Highlights – the great descent from Lugnaquilla and the descent/flat parts from Conavalla through to the saddle between Lugduff and Mullacor.
Lowlights – I don’t mind the sore muscles in my legs, but I could do without the 2 big blisters (one on each toe!).

Most of all though, I’d like to say thanks to the volunteers, especially the race director and the summit marshalls.

Looking forward to cracking 4 hours next year.
aidan RoeMay 14 2011, 7:57pmgreat race lads. one of my favourites. thanks to everyone who helped organise it. espically the marshals who had to wait around in the nasty pissy rain. also like to thank Barry and Ken. Barry for getting me to the start in time and Ken for the company (when it was needed most) definitely need more races like it during the year.
Paul NolanMay 15 2011, 11:27amWell done to all getting around yesterdays race without serious mishap, a fine achievement. At the finish the impression I gained between the downpours was that you mostly enjoyed it, that a light house on Clohernagh might be useful, the Camennabologue to Conavalla route debate is still open and that the last few junctions before the finish were a stretch too far for some tired brains.

Congratulations to Colm hill on shaving 2:21 off the record.

Much credit needs to go to Simon Fairmaner and Ronan Hickey for marshalling wind and rain swept summits, Paul Joyce for putting out and retrieving the Art's Lough Control and to Dermot McNamara and Mick Hanney for handling registration.

Results will appear shortly.
Colm HillMay 15 2011, 2:31pmFor those who are interested, 2010 route is the lighter one, 2011 is the darker route.
Ronan HickeyMay 15 2011, 3:22pmHi guys,

I've just uploaded some pics from the last checkpoint. As a lot of rain jackets were on at that point not many numbers are visible so please tag in who you know.

Apologies to anyone I didn't capture. My camera seized up in the rain and cold at one point and pools of rain on the lens meant I didn't get pictures of some other runners (unfortunately including Gareth Little who said he used up a lot of energy to run and pose and then died on Mullacor afterwards!)

Great race, congratulations to all the runners.


Justin ReaMay 15 2011, 5:26pmCheers to the RD and Marshalls. I would have paid good money for a cup of tea at the last checkpoint, but the water and jellies were appreciated.

Having gone the direct route from Camennabologue to Conavalla I wouldn't recommend it. A lot of wind fallen trees on the ride, and an extra 75m of climb, but at least Coillte had lopped the corner off the forest on the other side of the valley, so it was quite passable.

Muscles are not too bad today, but the bath and beers made a difference. Thanks to Jedward for getting me around the course. Was beating out their song on all the running bits.

She’s got her lipstick on
Here I come, da da dum
She’s got her lipstick on
Hit and run, then I’m gone
Check my collar, collar, hey, hey, ey
Check my collar, collar, hey, hey, ey . . .

repeat for 4 hours :-)
Don ShortMay 15 2011, 6:09pmResults check please.

Mick HanneyMay 15 2011, 6:24pmHi. I should be the runner who finished ahead of Alan Ayling and after Kyle in the results, and not 11th as currently shown. Cheers.
Mick HanneyMay 15 2011, 6:42pmSorry 10th. I think that should be Kevin Grogan who is not listed.
aidan RoeMay 15 2011, 7:16pm@ Justin

Hah. I thought I was the only one with the Jedward affliction. I got a glimpse of purgatory yesterday and it was trying to make my way around Conavalla in the rain with Lipstick going through my head. Soul destroying.
Alan AylingMay 16 2011, 12:14amBit of Iron Maiden in the car on the way to the race should cure that unfortunate Jedward condition you lads are suffering from.

I especially recommend track 5 from their Somewhere in Time album, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.
Don ShortMay 16 2011, 11:38amOne of the rare occasion when I beat my wife (Ruth Lynam) and the results are the wrong way around! Is there no justice in the world!!
Joe LalorMay 16 2011, 1:44pmSTOP PRESS

Don Short admits to beating his wife
Brían O'MearaMay 16 2011, 1:49pmRe Iron Maiden, 'Run to the Hills' would also do the trick.
Paul NolanMay 16 2011, 3:56pm@Don

It's possible Ruth's early start time was mixed with the wrong group, as there were THREE separate early starts. Can you indicate what times/positions you expected the results to show for yourself and abused other half.
Don ShortMay 16 2011, 7:43pmOf course my Garmin broke down so I don't know my time. Ruth says her time of 263:20 is correct and I finished about 3 mins ahead of her. We both started at 10:30.

Ronan HickeyMay 16 2011, 9:05pmChecking the time of my photos at the Lugduff-Mullacor saddle places Ruth ahead of you at that point by 3 minutes with Andreas Kusch in between you and only about a minute ahead of you. I'm not sure if that helps triangulate finishing positions or not!

Justin ReaMay 16 2011, 9:13pmI finished just ahead of Don and Ruth, but started ahead of them. I can attest to the fact that Don beat Ruth. I saw him beat her. He was smiling when he did it. The odd thing is, Ruth was smiling too. She was well beaten.

@Joe. Look what you started!
Ronan HickeyMay 16 2011, 9:17pmOh and in case it cheers up any of the runners who went off course coming down off my mortification on the way back down from the checkpoint I led myself and Simon Fairmaner down the wrong bloody track. A fact he was gentleman enough not to point out publicly.!

Mr. Nolan...any possibilities of one o' dem Mountain Navigation courses some time this year? :-)


Paul NolanMay 17 2011, 10:00amI might have to review my position re. the laptop at races...

Don, I had you down in the wrong early start. This will be corrected.
Let this be the end of the beatings.

Ronan, I'll try to find the time.
Dermot MurphyMay 17 2011, 10:19amHas the Circuit of Avonbeg created a record for the most reports for one race?

Great stuff!!
Jason KehoeMay 17 2011, 10:58am
@Paul - I would like to recommend to the committee that the beatings should continue until morale improves....

Although morale sounds pretty high after reading all the reports. Well done lads!
Mick HanneyMay 17 2011, 11:04amGreat report Ronan. Yourself and Simon both had hard stations up there on the hill.

I didn't realise it was Simon out on the hills til later. Will we see the day when Simon makes his way out on the hills racing again.

Hopefully another RD will come forward next year to allow the existing RD to try his hand at the route he has foisted upon us :-)
Torben DahlMay 17 2011, 11:10pmGreat reports guys! And again congratulations to Colm, very impressive time!!! Many thanks to the volunteers and everyone else at the race!! I really enjoyed the day even though my time was slower than last year, cause I had to try some "shortcuts" on the way... After being quite wrecked the last couple of days I now definitely are looking forward to do it again next year!