Irish Mountain
Running Association

Fraughan Rock Glen


Mick Hanney


It was a fine, hot day in the Glenmalure valley. The combination of the good weather and the Bank holiday had produced hordes of cars and campers the valley, down through Baravore. Tents everywhere. I hope they leave the valley as they found it.

There were 40 signed up for the race. Traditionally the race has been free route choice throughout, but this year we had the complication of a checkpoint to visit on the way up and back – an orienteering kite at the start of Brittas brook. Luckily it was straightforward in the finding, for the majority. If the weather was down it would have been a different story.

Liam Kenny was Race Director and the event couldn’t have been run smoother.

Given the weather, hydration would be an important part of todays race. At least we would have the benefit of running near water if anyone felt the need to cool down.

On to the race. Started bang on 12 noon. The fast lads (of which there quite a few) eased away from the rest of us, and before we had left the track behind the miners cottage they were mostly out of sight.

The fire road to about 2.5k took us to the base of the waterfall. I was moving steady behind Graham Bushe, Liam Vines and Michael Dowling on this section. Then it was walking time, up along the waterfall – this section seemed to be longer today with the heat. As the ground levelled out we veered left in the direction of the higher ground where yonder kite lay. Michael Dowling got a 2nd wind on this section and moved away from me, Liam and Graham. Richard Leahy also appeared and then proceeded to distance us with good climbing.

The kite found, it was onward towards Lug. Myself and Liam took a fairly direct line approach. Out left you could see others taking a more circuitous, but possibly less steep route. When you are facing a wall of steep grass its just a case of getting on with it. It wasn’t pretty, but after a period of time you found yourself topping out onto the Lug plateau and runners and the cairn clear in the middle distance. It was nice to be able to run again. The faster runners from earlier passing on their way back down.

So far so good. With visibility perfect no bearing needed. Things would go downhill literally from there for me. Ended up following a similar line back but it was too steep for me, at least, to run with speed or grace. But I was happy to come straight down to the kite on the way back. My 2nd mistake on the descent was to veer right from the kite too soon and I found myself descending through crags, not where you’d want to be. There was some descending on the backside but it was effective. Along this section Brian McGuckian and Anna Michael joined me and soon took off as we neared the track at the Waterfall. Lost time on this section as I seem to be incapable of mustering speed on this kind of messy terrain. Along here I was joined by Ruth Lyman (early starter) and Orla McEvoy, both taking the path in their stride.

I don’t often say this but I was actually looking forward to the next section of fire road as it offered the opportunity for decent unhindered running. I managed to create a gap but there was no one ahead to be caught. Was happy to cross the line and be handed a can of cold coke for my troubles.

Unlucky for those that didn’t hit the kite on the way back down, or had to re-route to try find it.
IMHO the kite ain’t needed. Certainly hasn’t stopped Bernard who won for the 7 or is it 8th time. Amazing stuff. Well done to all competitors and thanks a million to the volunteers led by Liam that made it happen.

FRG – it’s an event for the strong climber and the strong descender and for the person who can do that on rough ground i.e. Bernard. In fact, its probably about time the race is renamed after him!

That pint back in Glenmalure was delic. On a sunny day is there a better spot.