Irish Mountain
Running Association

Ben Gorm


Unknown Mick Hanney


35 runners made it out to the Aisleagh Falls for the Ben Gorm race. Most, if not all, would have run the Croagh Patrick race the previous day so many people were nursing knocks or grazes or simply race fatigue. Quite a few runners didn?t make the start line due to the Croagh Patrick effects. Despite this, a great race was had and fast times were achieved. Any of the top 3 times today would have topped last years fine time by Eoghan McKenna.

Described on the imra website as the roughest race on the calendar. It depends on your idea of rough I suppose but its good to have some races on the calendar where you know you will get wet and mucky and where falls are forgiven for the most part by the grassy ground. The river and waterfall at the race end is a welcome plus for the post race dip. Its probably a race for the imra purists. Personally I love it.

The weather was a bit kinder this year around ? you could actually see the ridge and the summit you?d to reach and the river crossing wasn?t the wading affair it was last year.

Interesting too that in a race that had zero marking, no one got lost. To the peak (with Rene marshalling) and back. Simple instructions work best.

Turlough & co at the finish line were treated to a great finish by Sean Twomey who overtook John Heneghan ? showing no effects of yesterday?s Croagh Patrick winning exertions ? in a dramatic finish descent to win. Falls from either party on the descent added to the drama. Sean?s time will take some beating and it would be interesting to see what time could be recorded if this race wasn?t run the day after the tough Croagh Patrick event.

The downhill slippery finish is not for the faint hearted and falls there were a plenty, going slow and being cautious wasn?t a guarantee of not falling ? I lost count of my falls but that?s part of the fun. The difference from yesterday?s surface was that you could bounce back from the turfy ground.

For the second year in a row Bernard Fortune placed well in both Connaught weekend races. On my (slow) descent I met Bernard heading back up again. He must like this hill J

The top 3 today made up the top 3 places in the Connaught Championship weekend, with John Heneghan winning it out.

Moire O?Sullivan, Leanne Cooke and Aoife Joyce led the placings in the ladies race. Another great Connaught showing by Moire.

I?m usually a better descender than ascender, but I met my match today as I was passed on the descent by quite a few runners, none more impressive than Joe Ahearne who gambolled across the tricky downhill surface like a goat J. Revenge for Joe for me staying ahead of him on the Ballybraid descent.

Thanks to Rene for his marshalling at the summit and Paul for his friendly shouts (and great photos). The race was ably directed by Turlough who opted out of running in favour of a road run later than day (boo...). Thanks to the supporting cast at the car park who provided tea and fantastic cake to the tired and muddy masses.


1. Bilboa 18 (Mike Cunningham 4, Thomas Blackburn 6, Joe Aherne 8)

1. Crusaders AC 12 (Leanne Cooke 3, Aoife Joyce 4, Marlon Davies 5)
2. Millstreet 17 (Michelle Finn 2, Gayle Finn 7, Mary Finn 8)

Mick Hanney

35 hardy souls lined up for the 2nd race of the Connaught championship weekend. Some didn't make the start due to injuries sustained in the previous days Croagh Patrick race or maybe it was the late night revelry afterwards in Delphi :-) The weather was as good as it gets here with clear skies and clear views across the hills. Just what you want when you are running along high drops, at times. Ben Gorm has to be experienced. While its boggy and slippy at times it is also mountain running at its most elemental. When you scale the main ridge and you are ridge running towards the summit you are one with nature, overlooking some of the best views in Ireland. The race starts slow for most of us. The lead guys head off (how they sustain any pace on this terrain is beyond me, but they do). After the first hill there is a downhill to the stream. A quick hop across this and you make for the left of the V in the ridge on front of you, a compulsory 'pass thru' point for runners both out and back. Thanks to Caroline Reid for marshalling here and giving runners encouragement. There was more encouragement on further along the ridge by walker and photographer for the day Paul Nolan. Rene manned the summit. 1st to the summit was John Heneghan, the previous days winner. In the end John was pipped to victory by a fast descending Sean Twomey in a comparable time to last years race. Bernard Fortune completed the top 3 (for the 2nd year in a row). John was overall Connaught Champion. That feat was repeated by Moire O'Sullivan who was 1st lady home on Croagh Patrick and Ben Gorm. 2nd lady across the line today was junior Michelle Finn and 3rd was Leanne Cooke. The water above the Aasleagh falls was a welcome relief for most of the runners after the race. A post race dip is just the ticket, particularly after the muckiest race on the schedule. Thanks to Turlough for another fine Connaught weekend.