Irish Mountain
Running Association



Alan CollinsMirjam AllikAidan HurleyEamonn HodgeRene BorgMick Hanney

Alan Collins

Seefingan holds a special significance for me. After 30 odd mountain races I had my first proper spill! I got my mountain wings as it were. It was at the start of the rocky descent coming down off Seahan after all the hard work had been done. Just after the turn when the summit marshal sent us hard right I could see I had put some daylight between myself and Damian Kelly having caught him and another runner on that last climb. The runners in front were just out of sight down the hill though and that presented a problem which led to some bad decision making. If I find myself on my own without a runner in front to chase down I can find myself easing up and not get the most out of myself. So I made the conscious decision to try to push the pace and throw myself - literally as it turned out - down the steep part (or “technical descent” as serious runners would have it). The trouble is the stony terrain didn’t really allow for that kind of aggression, at least not with my footie skills after 10k or so of rolling hills and runner devouring bog.

Seconds after this ill-fated decision I tripped on a stone and it was game over. Like all notable accidents everything then happened in slow motion. I was flying and turning slowly in mid air, floating really. The orchestra played Blue Danube. After several minutes sailing gracefully like this I eventually came crashing down on my left shoulder blade and skidded along like that for a few metres in a cloud of stones and dust using my right palm as a brake with my legs still airborne. I eventually came down for a nice soft landing on my left thigh. With my head safely held up and legs almost completely unscathed it was the perfect crash landing. A bit like that airline pilot who successfully landed his plane on the Hudson River except I was on a mountain and not flying a plane. Instantly I knew I was fine and instinctively rolled back to my feet and was running and normal time resumed. No one got past me! Result!

A few minutes later when my adrenaline ran out I started feeling sorry for myself and Damian Kelly took me with some strong running on the flat. With about a kilometre to go though I found a bit of extra puff and put in a decent finish catching Suzanne Kenny instead. Unlike Mick I loved those caterpillar tracks – they helped me climb!

Once down I conducted a steward’s inquiry into what happened. Looking at my filthy, shredded and bloodstained singlet it seemed strange to me that I had landed on my back?! At the time I didn’t register which foot I had stubbed but that seemed important. Applying the laws of physics, I concluded it must have been my right: If my stride was checked on the right hand side my momentum would have carried only my left hand side forward causing my body to tip forward and turn at the same time. It must have looked awesome – Johnny Knoxville eat your heart out!!!

While acrobatics took centre stage for me this week I should mention that the course was great! The extension on to Seefingan was a great idea and the flat bog really made it. I was amazed at times how difficult it was to maintain a decent pace across that obstacle course. Route selection was critical with craftily hidden bog holes everywhere. It was somewhat like a landmined Cambodian paddyfield. I can only imagine what that would have been like in wet weather. Perhaps we should build a shrine stacked high with running shoes.

A big shout out to Eamonn Hodge for providing a cooler full of fanta and beer no less – what a trooper! Cheers Eamo. Thanks also to mountain rescue man Wayne Jenkins who patched me up afterwards and was suitably impressed with the eight inch gash in my back.

See you next week Folks!

Mirjam Allik

This race was the toughest I had run this season and going over five summits definitely changed the game. In my previous races I have seldom run with other female competitors and usually (but not always), the position I hold at half way up is the same as when finishing. But Seefingan was different and positions kept changing throughout the race. I remember running with Hazel Thompson and Susan Seager. Both passed me early in the course, but I caught up and passed them at the foot of Seefingan. Before reaching the summit, both of them had passed me again, as did Lisa McMahon.

I think that because the race combined multiple ascents and descents it allowed the different strengths of runners to be matched more equally. Those good on the uphill could not get too far ahead as there were two descents before the final summit and those good on the downhill had to face a similar challenge on the way back as Seahan and Corrig were to be crossed again. Altogether this made for an interesting, albeit a tough, race.

Aidan Hurley

The race may offically begin at 7:30, but for me, the build up begins in earnest at least a couple of days prior to race day (already feeling anxious about next week as I that normal?. Being in work feels a little like Fight Club, trying to figure out if your colleagues are also hill runners/members of IMRA, whether you could beat them or not (what does a hill runner look like anyway?).

"Welcome to IMRA. The first rule of IMRA is: Carpool. The second rule of IMRA is: Make sure you hand back your race number. The third rule of IMRA is: if mountain rescue are required or if you tap out, the race is over, DNF. The fourth rule of IMRA is: CARPOOL".

The day of the race is usually spent attending the bathroom more often that the glances you receive from people in work, tells you is normal, inbetween the constant monitoring of the website and in particular the forum, for any updates no matter how insignificant. One final check of directions to the race and of the route itself and it's almost time......

My usual (or slightly unusual) race buddy can't make it to Seefingan so I enlist the company (hey it's only my fourth race) of an old friend of mine I know is a keen runner but has never raced before. I know this guy years, however, upon arrival at the start of the race I find myself engaging in nervous, chit chat, small talk.........just waiting for the race to begin. Finally, with butterfly's in stomach, midges feasting on my arms and flys swarming around my head.........we're off.

Disappointed to discover that the first bit of uphill, through the forest, doesn't count as the first summit. As I get about half way up Seehan, my old friend comes gliding by. Next time I see him, I'm half way up Seefingan and he's bounding down. I momentarily consider doing him harm, but he's wearing glasses.......I walk the final ascent of Seefingan and when it looks like I'm about to have my photo taken, I break into an all out sprint. Saw no flash, and as of yet no picture. Is this just a cunning ruse to get us moving so that there's no needless hanging around? Gotta love the downhill though, this is what I convince myself I'm out here for, indeed what the mountain is for. Just letting go and allowing gravity to play its part. The watering contact lenses, from the wind, just add to the insanity.

On the run back towards Corrig, I take an ungainly spill, try to roll (turns out it's not possible in a swamp) to get back to my feet. A passing Mick Fitzgerald (hope that's right!)offered some words of encouragement (I could swear he was floating, that's what happens after 200 races) and I'm back on track. Reached the top of Corrig, mouth too dry to ask for directions so I point, I receive a nod in return and I'm off.

The final bit of forest was interesting, with there being no aparant right way to go, I head for the chink of light (eventually). Decided to lenghthen my stride for the final couple of kms (something I read), which turned out to be the wrong place to experiment. Both calfs immediately seised, making the last bit of race seem extra long and difficult.

To borrow from Richard Askwith, "Great sports are about much more than the rarefied activities of their elites. Their souls come from the mediocre (although I would never class anyone brave enough to venture out to do what we do as mediocre - Aidan) majorities who know how difficult the achievements of the superstars really are. The knowledge and passion of the also-rans are what give meaning to the activities of the elite". In other words, not to take away from anyones achievements, we make them look good!.

I really wanted to come in the top 100 and managed at Seefingan (despite all the walking!). Perhaps the absence of the regular numbers had something to do with it, but I don't care, I'll take it anyway. As for my 60!. Have to ask someone one doesn't run. Now, what do they look like again...............

Eamonn Hodge


I started off in the top group, I was hoping to have enough energy to get up through the narrow forest path and not hold up anybody else. I was in around 5th place when we took the sharp turn into the forest and up the steep narrow incline. I stayed with Daniel Morrough on this section. Daniel had decided to stay well clear of the olives this week and we both scarpered up the mud wall separating us from the trail road in front of us.

Diarmuid, Eoin, Niall, Daniel Morrough were ahead of me (there may have been more I'm not sure). When we got onto the flat Des Kennedy overtook me and tried to start a conversation. I was breathing hard at this stage which was in the first 5 minutes of the race. Probably not a good idea if the race is as long as this one was. What was easy going for Des is not easy for me! We agreed to continue the conversation after the race.

I tried to increase my leg turn over on the flat. This part is easy. No point trying to conserve yourself on the flat stuff. Run hard when it's flat. It's okay to walk on the ascents I told myself. Ben Mooney overtook me on the steeper boggy stuff approaching Seehan. No shame in that. The man's savage. Approaching Seehan I was very surprised I could still see Diarmuid and Eoin run off almost hand in hand (that may have been my imagination).

I was ever-so-slightly worried that I'd run out of energy on this race. It's not exactly short is it? And there are multiple climbs. So if you do run out of energy it's not like an easy downhill jog to the finish, it could be some horrible climbs to really finish you off.

Cresting Seehan Daniel overtook Ben and I closed the gap on Ben as we reached the bottom of the lovely and fast descent. I enjoyed racing down towards Corrig and the climb up wasn't so bad. We had a pretty good trail I thought. Got to the Corrig top and started trundling down at a decent speed. I was caught by one guy but I wasn't too worried. I was sure I would find a good track slightly over to the left.

I couldn't find the god damn track! Damn it! Could have sworn it was around here somewhere. By the time we crossed the wet, boggy stuff to start the ascent to Seefingan I was relieved to see that I hadn't lost too much distance on Greg Byrne. There was some deep boggy places here which I could have avoided but it would have meant going too far out of place. In my defence the route I took was the route the route-marker chose as there were many red and white signs to follow. However, that wasn't the reason I chose this route. I had recced the route the day before and was sure there was a very runnable path there. I actually did happen across it several times but kept losing it and had to run through bog.


I caught one guy on the climb to Seefingan whose name I don't know. I was using my patented walking/running method. I kept on expecting Mick to catch me. I was fairly close to Greg Byrne. The first of the early starters were flying down from Seefingan at this point. Jack O'Toole - you are no longer eligible for an early start and you would have beaten Eva Fairmaner if you had started with her! You were only 50 seconds behind Aidan Roe as well.

On the downhill I really let fly! It was soft enough and boggy enough to go at 100% effort. (this is what I should be doing on rocky descents as well I suppose). I was loving it. Jim Fitzharris shouted something encouraging referring to me as bendy legs or elastic legs or somesuch. Okay, maybe I'm not the most graceful descender but comparing me to a childs stretchy toy?! I also got a polite question at the end enquiring if I was doing the splits up there. Hmmm. I didn't actually catch anybody - Greg isn't exactly a slow descender and luckily none of the early starters made any darting movements left or right or it could have been curtains for both of us.

At the end of the descent I stupidly did it again and tried to find my path over to the right this time. I'll bet I was very close to it. Again, I ran along by red and white markers and at these points there was a semblance of a path but it wasn't very straight and seemed to lead into the peat hags/crags?! (at the end the lads (Gerry and Mick) were laughing at me for going completely off course - have to agree it was a good bit slower but darn it, it *could* have been faster. Where were the markers on your route Mick?! well? well?!).

The guy who I had caught on the Seefingan ascent went the more direct (but OFF course!) route up Corrig chasing Greg Byrne. He seemed to catch him and must have got ahead of him because I didn't see him again. I eventually got back on the more optimal track and up to Corrig. Raced down into the dip and climbed alright to Seehan. Mick and Gerry were gaining on me but I was delighted to still be ahead. I thought they would have both caught me on the descent of Seefingan or failing that the descent off Corrig.

Starting the rocky descent off Seehan I knew Mick and Gerry would be more capable than me here but I was going to hold them off for as long as I could. I had brought Justin Houlihan along for his first mountain run and he chose the early start. I caught him here and halloed him as I concentrated on descending. I got down the first section still ahead of the two lads. They were very close though. At one point I reckon Gerry tried to overtake and I sped up to temporarily hold him off. I held off several attacks in this way. Hopping back in so that the fence was on our right we came across Greg Byrne up ahead emerging from the woods. It was a little confusing here as there was red and white tape on the left just before the path down which may have suggested that this was the turn off. Possibly some red and white on the outside of the course, the right hand side would have been more reassuring. The three of us while still running looked down left where Greg had emerged from and agreed that the turn off was further down. I had looked at the map and knew we were to take a 90 degree turn left at some point. Sure enough we came to the next junction and it was clear then which was the right way to go. Taping off the straight on path would have made it abundantly clear to go left but I'm useless at trying to remember race directions and I agree that whatever about the early season races which should be heavily marked the later season ones which are generally longer cannot and should not be marked as well.

Just before the left turn Mick pounced and got ahead of both of us just as Gerry overtook me. They stretched their lead down the steeper rocky descent which was getting tougher and tougher on my tired feet and ankles. I really tried! I wasn't afraid to fall! (honest!) but they increased the gap.

Another left across the felled tree area and awkwardly trying to hop over branches without losing speed when I heard the worst sound in the world... somebody behind me!

Down into a ditch and back up the other side onto a mud road which had had some large forestly machinery leave its mark. Hopped across a little gap in the road and kept plodding along with Mr Mysterious just behind me. Back onto the road proper the guy behind me gradually comes along side me. Jimmy Synott. Much better descender than me. We ran along the road at a fairly comfortable pace This was going to be a game of chess. I was ready to go with him if he turned on the pace. He seemed happy to plod with me.

I saw Jack O'Toole ahead - first of the early starters. No prizes for that Jack, get back to the regular start! He dropped down to a walk and I gave him a yell - "NEARLY THERE!" and we were. Very close. He started running again. Jack shouted back as Jimmy and I passed him - "YOU HAVE HIM" at which Jimmy increased his speed. I kept just behind him hoping that I wouldn't take the wrong racing line. We turned the second last corner and there was a long strait with orange cones leading into the final horrendously acute tight left turn. I took my chance and absolutely legged it at a completely unsustainable pace. I didn't know if Jimmy had come with me. After about ten seconds I slowed back down and looked behind. Thank God he hadn't come with me. If I had waited too long to sprint Jimmy could have fought back. I finished twelfth in the end, 24 seconds behind Mick, 18 seconds behind Gerry and 29 seconds behind Greg. Very happy with that result but those seconds were all made up on the last kilometre or so. It's quite a big gap considering we were side by side so recently before that.

Serious kudos to Des Kennedy for coming 3rd just days after coming 4th at Fraggle Rock - sorry, sorry Fraughen Rock Glen. Eoin Keith took 2nd despite the 24 hour mountain bike race he won over in the west. Obviously well done to Diarmuid Collins for winning the darn race!

Suzanne Kenny made it 6 from 6 and as long as she finishes in the first fifteen or so ladies in one of the next two races she should have the League sown up. Kate Cronin is very much back to full fitness (or so it seems) taking second place. This was her 7th race bringing her LL score to 22. Rosalind Hussey came 6th and got rid of her 10 points from Fairy Chase race - I presume that was to do with the multiple routes nature of that race?! Ros now has 25 points and is clear of Susan Seager and Mirjam Allik and Hazel Thompson with 40, 47 and 52 points. Ros could have a very good finish at both Trooperstown and Sugarloaf due to the technical nature of one of the descents in Trooperstown and the entire bloody descent of the Sugarloaf. She could catch Kate! There's a chance Jenny McCauley will finish the league by doing the last two races and she could bump Ros or Kate out of a podium finish. Very exciting.

Eoin Keith god rid of his pesky 12th place at the Fairy Chase race to jump up to 2nd place the league behind Barry Minnock.

I was very happy to beat Mike Long and had a quick chat with him afterwards where he reckons he need to work on the hills and not rely solely on those dull interval sessions with Rathfarnam. He has had a remarkably consistent season with 9 finishes all in the 22nd - 25th position.

Just looking at the results there was some very close finishes - Hill the Younger beat James Alexander by 1 second. Was Hill in front with Alexander trying to overtake him or was Alexander in the lead and pipped by Hill at the post? Either way James great that you've got some competition there!

Well done young Cian Rea. You nipped in just under the hour mark. Excellent stuff. That's a long time to be struggling up and down hills. You've a great future of mountain running ahead of you!

The Battle of the Alans continued last night with Ayling coming in just ahead of Collins. Collins fought off a late attack from Suzanne Kenny and finished just two seconds ahead of her. Jeff Fitzsimons had overtaken Suzanne on the descent off Seahan but couldn't hold her off on that achingly slow muddy section. Jeff finished just a second behind Suzanne.

Des Kennedy, Joseph Mooney and Niall Fox all finished within 3 seconds of each other. What the hell happened there? Can we get a race report or at least a paragraph describing the last battle to the finish line. Well done Des on coming 3rd overall. and presumably outsprinting Joseph and Niall to the line. That was a killer of a sharp left turn just at the end (I may have mentioned that before).

As Peter O'Farrell mentioned 5 of the top 11 were M40s. With a bit of luck all the fast M40s will have moved into M50 territory before I'm competing in M40 territory. Also, two of the top three positions were M40s. Colm Hill would have had a great race tonight but he is aware of the dangers of over-racing so limited himself to just a training run this evening.

Having recced the course I thought the race director was mad predicting a finish time of under the 60 minutes but Diarmuid Collins duly obliged and nipped in with a time of 58:55.

Thanks to Conor O'Meara for extending the Corrig race out to Seefingan. I'm not sure if you made the decision to do that but I'm glad you took on the responsibility for this race. It's really great looking over at the tomb/cairn of Seefingan from Corrig and thinking Good God! are we really running all the way over there?!

Huge thanks to the non-running volunteers who gave up their evening (and more!) so that the rest of us can race. Especially the well wrapped up summit marshals who must have got pretty cold up there. Everybody prefers racing. Running volunteers are required as well but non-running volunteers are absolutely vital. I agree with Jim that next year it should be a rule to volunteer at least once as a non-runner.

I get a volunteer-credit for writing this don't I?!

Rene Borg


1. Boards AC 24 (2 Eoin Keith, 10 Mick Hanney, 12 Eamonn Hodge)
2. UCD 58 (5 Niall Fox, 9 Greg Byrne, 44 Philip De Chazal)
3. Sli Cualann 92 (6 Ben Mooney, 13 Jimmy Synnott, 73 Brendan Lawlor)
4. The Kyrgyz Freedom Alliance 93 (15 John P O'Regan, 30 Viv Lavan, 50 Eoin Hardiman)

1. Crusaders AC 39 (5 Susan Seager, 16 Eva Fairmaner, 18 Bronagh Cheetham)

Mick Hanney

This race was never going to be easy. At 12k and 550m of ascent over boggy mountain tracks this is the longest yet of the Leinster League races. It extends the Corrig race route which I last ran 2 years ago. That route tends to be a bogfest. It would be interesting to see the conditions underfoot after the long dry spell we had.

The midges were out in force as we assembled at the start. An early start had seen a small bunch of runners head off out the route 20 mins beforehand. Seemed to be a smaller crowd for this race that previous Weds. Could have been the world cup or the longer race putting people off. Those that stayed away missed a treat.

I wasn't thinking it was a treat in the early stages. I decided to pace myself and avoid the temptation to rush out at the start. Its a long one after all. Diarmaid Collins and Eoin headed into the lead. The likes of Des, Dan, Ben, Niall and Greg followed with a resurgent Eamonn Hodge in close attendance. I was probably in and around 10th place for much of the outward part of the race. I was joined and past on an early uphill by Gerry Lalor who loves the uphills. I nearly lost a shoe early on in a soft boggy spot. So much for the dry spell. This hill must have a hidden resevoir of water underneath it.

Nice downhill off Corrig before a long stretch then uphill to Seefingan itself. For the 2nd time the foot went into a bog hole. Really struggled to pull it out! Definitely thought I'd lost the shoe but thankfully it remained on but I lost crucial momentum and I could see quite a gap had opened to Gerry Lalor and Paul John Brennan. Eamonn Hodge had disappeared from view. Hold on, is that him way over on the left? Eamonn seemed to be running his own route parallel to the marked course? He said he'd recce'd it with a walk the previous evening so maybe the going is better over there?

Looking ahead the steep climb to Seefingan presented itself. The trail was soft dry peat for the most part, but soft bits were hidden away and the ground was very undulating, lots of mini ups and downs as you were running. My pace slowed on the main climb. Walked tiny bits, but made up for it by periods of faster running. The lead runners met us as we headed up. Diarmuid Collins 1st, Eoin 2nd. Couldn't count further than that. Tried to concentrate and keep the pace with Gerry Lalor. Not easy as he was climbing very well. Met a smiling Martin Francis who was summit marshalling. I reckon Eamonn had a 15 to 20 sec gap ahead of me at the top. The descent off Seefingan back to whence we came was brilliant. Let gravity do its stuff. A free energy ride. Made up a place or 2 here and closed the gap on Gerry. Another climb then back up to the top of Corrig again. More concentration needed. Stayed the course and ran in close proximity to Gerry. Looked for Eamonn again. Yet again he was off on an alternate track? Not sure how legit that is if the rest of us were following a marked track? Anyways, as his path converged with ours I could see that the gap was closing, probably less than 10 secs by the time we got to Corrig peak and headed down a technical downhill. I definitely benefitted from having ran alongside Gerry on much of this race. He's a great pacer and we probably paced each other well. I think Eamonn was running quite solo which is a more difficult proposition.

Still about 2k to go at this stage. Too early to try make a move. On the downhill we were catching up. Gerry went to pass at one point but Eamonn responded with a blast of speed. I wondered if we'd get past at all as Eamonn was running very very well. From somewhere I got a burst of energy and I took off past the 2 boys. I tried to make the most of my break and sprint out a gap. The rocky conditions underfoot made things difficult and I was sure I would hear the guys in close proximity behind me. I crossed a rubble field from a recent felled forest and came upon a track that I recognised but it was slightly uphill and the caterpillar tracks dried into the ground made it tough to run on. Feck. My pace was crap at this point. I wondered if I had shot my bolt too early. Didn't look around as I didn't want to tempt fate. I realised then that I was still closing on another runner ahead. Greg? What was he doing here. Hadn't seen him since the start when he went off with a leading group... However, try as I may to catch him I couldn't. He sensed my proximity and lifted the pace at the crucial time. I legged it for all I was worth and finished slightly ahead of Gerry and Eamonn. 10th place and happy with the run as I felt I gained momentum as the race progressed which is a good way to be. Some room for improvement there too, as ever.

Diarmaid Collins won with Eoin in 2nd and Des a fine 3rd. 2 of out 3 for M40s. Go oldies! A race by race improving Joe Mooney appears had a fine run, as did Dan Morrough, Ben Mooney and Niall Fox. I think Suzanne Kenny was 1st lady home again. Fair play. Boards AC were 1st team too with Eoin, myself and Eamonn. Nice one. Tough race, great race.