Irish Mountain
Running Association



Mick Hanney

Galtymore 2021

A road trip down to the Galtees, an overdue return visit after a no. of years away.
The weather was kind. On the way down to Tipp, you could see all the mountain tops, which is always good for a mountain race. And a welcome change from other Galtees races I've done over the years.
So, it turned out with the Galtees with the full line of Cush, Galtybeg and Galtymore all clear from the car park and looking fabulous.
A very congested car park Lots of hikers in evidence and there must have been a last minute rush of entries for the combo of Galtees and Cush races.
A very smooth registration process followed by some chats with familiar faces, include Paddy O’Leary back from the states for the month, Adrian Hennessy just back from Kerry hols and Alan Ayling. Everyone, including myself, making their pre-race excuses.
Just after 12 we were set off, on the slow climb towards Cush, the first of many climbs of the day.
Set off slow and steady, conscious to preserve some energy for the hills ahead. That climb reduces almost the entire field to a walk as the gradient gets steeper and steeper.
Slow and steady worked ok up Cush and I was just behind Alan Ayling. Well ahead in the distance I could see a stretched out single file of runners, with Paddy leading the way. A hello to the marshalls on Cush and try to look unpained for the photographer.
My race could be summarised as climbed ok, descended rubbish. So it was, that from Cush, Alan stretched off in the distance, descending brilliantly. Between Cush and Galtybeg I was overtaken by Lisa Hegarty (1st lady of the day - new to IMRA but running hills super) and Robbie Williams, also running well, who must have taken it very handy from the start ;-) These 3 opened a gap no me and made the climb of Galtybeg look easy.
It felt like I was plodding along in their wake, going up the wall of grass that is Galtybeg. Near the top of the climb, Kevin Lenihan went past me and eased away ahead.
Topping out on Galtybeg, only 1 more climb to go, on the outward section. The wind was getting up now. Lots of walkers around at this stage to dodge. Mindful too of the steep drop on the right to the lake below.
Before too long it was the short grass wall up towards Galtymore. Paddy was already on his way back at this stage, seemingly well clear of the field.
Through the steep bog and rocky steps we went, onward and upward through the wind that was getting stronger the higher we went.
Various return runners went past – Brian, Adrian, Tom, Bernard, Conor. A blur of running action, the opposite of me. Then Alan, Lisa, Robbie, Kevin, so not much further...
Finally, topped out on Galtymore, hello to the marshalls and turn to head back.
Trying to get the legs into gear after lots of climbing. Too tentative descending the drop however.
Descending badly I lost a couple of places on the way off Galtymore. Tried to narrow the gap on the col to Galtybeg. Managed to haul in Michael McSweeney, but he got away again on the next descent off Galtybeg. Reeling him in again on the approach to Cush and put in an effort to get up Cush and open a gap before the last descent. Was fully expecting Michael to come haring past me at any stage after Cush, but I managed to sustain some descending speed for once on that last descent, then over the stile and down the last track to the finish.
17th overall, so respectable ish. And in line with my usual time on Galtees.
Well done to all that took part on a tough race. Congrats to Paddy and Lisa for their wins.
Thanks to all the volunteers on the day who managed a fantastic event. Weather was super apart from the gale blowing on the very top.
If you haven’t tried the Galtees, you must. One of the best IMRA races around, and one of the toughest, with a couple of climbs on the way back, which is counter-intuitive, but you have to experience it. On a day like this life is good.