Irish Mountain
Running Association


Conor MurphyMar 10 2020, 12:11pmI note Sanctuary Runners have suspended all group runs with immediate effect. I presume parkrun will have to review their position. I also note that millions are in lockdown in Italy with serious restrictions on travel, recommendations that people stay more than 1 metre from others etc. Measures that make runs and races impossible.

One doesn't want to be alarmist - and I'd have been in the completely dismissive category myself up to recent days. But I guess it's an issue that might have to be considered and very soon.
Stuart ScottMar 10 2020, 12:25pmApart from my previously well publicised and granny-like opinions on spitting, I wouldn't have any major concerns. If you have flu symptoms you're unlikely to be running anyway! The races are outdoors and with the exception of the start line, the field spreads out very quickly. Though now that you suggest it, I would quite like a mandatory 1m gap to be left behind me. It might be the only time I win a race!
Val JonesMar 10 2020, 12:47pmCan the mat time a start as well as a finish? Could then have staggered starts?
Kevin O'RiordanMar 10 2020, 12:57pmPlan is to have thermal scanners at the finish. Anyone finishing with a high temperature will be automatically placed into quarantine.
Conor BuckleyMar 10 2020, 1:20pmIf we follow a similar trajectory to Italy and Spain, Ireland is about 10 days away from chaos.
Hopefully that won't be the case but I think all organisations should do whatever they can to minimise contact for the next few weeks.
It's easy to update the guidance/policy if the situation improves.
Brendan LawlorMar 10 2020, 1:20pmIt will be very hard for IMRA to get this right.. do nothing and we'll be accused of complacency , cancel or defer races and we'll be over reacting

I'm sure the committee will consider this in the coming days and weeks and all we can do, is do as we are told and don't be complaining if a race or two (or more) gets cancelled or deferred

We had nearly a full season cancelled years ago during the Foot and Mouth outbreak
Joe LalorMar 10 2020, 1:35pmNo we didn't, much effort went into organising alternative routes on the roads when banned off the hills.
Brendan LawlorMar 10 2020, 1:38pmI stand corrected Joe, but there was disruption nonetheless (and probably plenty of whinging too, but not online!)
Gordon PlaceMar 10 2020, 2:31pmI'd agree with Stuart, if you have an underlying condition or live with someone who does, make your own call, maybe rethink the fuel stops on long races and strictly restrict post race congrats to a stoic nod
Gareth LittleMar 10 2020, 3:21pmThe problem is, is that you may have the virus but feel 100% fine whilst passing it on unwittingly, through hand shakes, coughing, spitting, even raffle tickets, etc etc.

Being out on the mountain in the fresh air is great and all that but the problem is the carpooling, public transport, coaches and prize givings in the pub, post race.
Jim FitzharrisMar 10 2020, 3:56pmHi all,

Some good points raised here.

We must be practical and sensible.

I think we all agree that there is not much risk DURING a race.

The issue is registration and post-race socialising.

There are a few precautions that could be taken at registration.
We all take care of our own numbers and chips so it is easy to stop other people handling these.
Volunteers could wear those thin plastic gloves when handling clipboards, etc.
The staff in my local SuperValu are now wearing these at the checkouts.
Similarly (and I know that this could be a real pain), all those signing in should wear a pair too as otherwise we are sharing biros, rubbing hands on the sign-in sheets, etc. There would have to be a good supply at Registration.
Alternatively, or in addition, have a supply of hand sanitiser available at Registration.

I appreciate that there is quite a press of people at the race start but common sense should prevail and the RD could ask people to spread out a bit. Most participants are not aiming for a podium finish.
Staggered starts would be a pain even if they worked – even 180 runners every 10 seconds is still a 30-minute start process!
All runners should be strongly encouraged to have a few tissues two handy – stick them in your mandatory race jacket.

Clearly, post-race prize-giving and socialising could become an issue.
However, this is totally under our control and gatherings of this nature may well become the subject of more general public guidelines if and when the disease become more widespread.

In summary, I am sure I am not alone in hoping that this last great bastion of individual freedom of physical expression, healthy exercise in the hills, etc. is not unduly affected.

If IMRA does suspend races, I can see individuals organising their own unofficial events to stop us all going doolally!


Richard NunanMar 10 2020, 4:23pmAt the moment we are monitoring the progress of the Corona virus in terms of guidelines issued by the HSE. Any further guidelines issued by the HSE and or AAI in terms of mass gatherings should we move past the containment phase will be adhered to by IMRA.

If there is a postponement of races - we will issue a notice immediately. Safety at this point remains our only concern.
Matthew BranchMar 10 2020, 5:08pmWith respect to the Knockmealdowns Half Marathon, I have decided on the following actions:
1) removal of meeting point at the local GAA for showers and catering. Not only is this a risk point, but it would be presumptious of me to assume the local community is ok with 200+ sweaty runners converging on their facilities and using the restrooms and canteen.
2) The individual packaging of refreshments for each runner that will now be supplied to them at the race finish (outdoors in the open).

This has been communicated with all runners by email this afternoon

We all agree that trail running is probably of a very low risk but there is no harm in being thoroughly pro-active and taking the threat seriously. I hope everyone understands.
Jim FitzharrisMar 11 2020, 10:41amFully understood Richard - that makes prefect sense.

If and when the HSE and/or AAI issue guidelines, they will probably be quite draconian and will not make allowances for hill runners, etc.

The purpose of my post was to offer some practical suggestions in order to minimise the risks in the interim. The Minister for Health and the medical experts have stressed that we must all take some collective responsibility and play our part in helping to minimise the spread of the virus.


Richard NunanMar 11 2020, 11:01amWe will be as cohernent as we can. We are Due further advice from HSE on mass gatherings and social distancing at the end of the week, when their sub-commitee meets again.

Understand and like the sentiment of your post. The post form the HSE on the 06032020 was comprehensive. I am including a good link below that shows the level of detail and advice.

Conor MurphyMar 12 2020, 9:52amA couple of high profile races in the UK cancelled yesterday, the Highland Fling and the Fellsman. Here are the reasons set out by the former which might illustrate what they see as the issues. It should be said that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of events over the coming months that are, as of this morning, proceeding.

-The Highland Fling is entirely dependent on volunteers and with the current spread of the virus we cannot be sure that we will have enough marshals and medical personnel to run the event to our usual high standards of safety. If several of our key people - doctors, medical team, rescue boat crew, checkpoint bosses, finishline crew - were suddenly required to self-isolate on the Friday evening, we would be forced to cancel the event at very short notice.

-The Fling medical team is largely made up of NHS personnel and we are very aware that in the coming weeks and months they may be called upon to work overtime. Our medical team includes several GPs, nurses, paramedics, a neurosurgeon and more, and we don’t want to hold them to their commitment to volunteer at the event when their skills will almost certainly be in much greater demand elsewhere.

- There would be several unavoidable occasions across the event where large numbers of people would be confined in small spaces - race registration, starting pens, checkpoint gazebos, the medical tent and the general finish area. Due to news reports about stockpiling of antibacterial hand gels and other similar items, we are concerned that we will be unable to provide increased hygiene facilities across the event and we are not willing to put our runners and volunteers in positions of increased risk.

- The government is not yet advising cancellation of outdoor sporting events, but it is increasingly likely that they will do so soon. The Highland Fling is a non-profit event run by myself, John Duncan, with the help of a core team of volunteers. The entry fees paid each year support that year’s event only, and we do not hold any funds in reserve. As of today, March 11th, expenditure for the 2020 event has been minimal, with most large orders not due to be confirmed until later this month. By cancelling now we can minimise further expenditure, which will allow us to refund as large a percentage of entry fees as possible. (It will also minimise the waste of perishables and dated event merchandise that cannot be reused.)

-Finally, we feel very strongly that cancelling the event is simply the responsible thing to do. We are fully supported in this decision by our event Medical Director and Medical Team Co-ordinator.
Celine BuckleyMar 12 2020, 11:18amBasketball Ireland have cancelled all events and competitions as of last night until further notice. I different sport but I expect more organisations will follow their lead.
Conor MurphyMar 12 2020, 12:18pmFrom RTE news...

"...indoor gatherings of more than 100 people will not be permitted and a maximum outdoor gathering of 500 people will be allowed. The restrictions will stay in place until 29 March."
Rory BurkeMar 12 2020, 1:21pmNew Athletics Ireland guidelines is instructing 'all affiliates to suspend all athletic competitions and events with immediate effect". I would assume that extends to IMRA?
Laura FlynnMar 12 2020, 1:45pmHi everyone,

On the back of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s statement this morning, and subsequent statement from AAI, we have decided that it would be sensible for us to Postpone all IMRA activities until after the 30th of March.

The Committee will now need the time to revise the Calendar for the coming month so that we can make the correct decisions. We will issue new Dates for MMU and MM Trail in the coming days to allow people to plan.

As always, we will continue to monitor the situation and update as necessary
Thanks for your support and understanding on this matter and please continue to be vigilant with hand washing, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and seeking medical advice if you develop symptoms.

Conor MurphyMar 13 2020, 4:06pmLooking at my post on Tuesday and thinking...that escalated quickly...
Laura FlynnMar 25 2020, 2:09pmUPDATE to our members.

Firstly, and most importantly on behalf of the committee we’d like to thank you all for your understanding and patience during this difficult time. We hope that you, your families and loved ones are coping well, managing to stay safe and healthy and will continue to do so until we are all back running in the hills.

The committee conducted our monthly meeting via Zoom last night, with thanks to our host, Richard Nunan, and agreed the following in relation to this year’s calendar:

1. Other than the 3 events set out below, all IMRA events scheduled between now and the 30th of May 2020 will be cancelled forthwith.

2. We have agreed the following PROVISIONAL dates for the following 3 events:

- Maurice Mullins Ultra and Trail - 30th of May 2020. Please note
however that this will no longer be a trial race for the
Interceltic Challenge.

- Knockmealdown Half - 6th of June 2020.

- Wicklow Way Relay - 8th of August 2020.

We will use our best endeavours to ensure that these events go ahead on these dates but we have no doubt you will understand that we will also have to adhere to any guidelines or directions issued by the government. We expect to be in a position to give a further update after the 19th of April, the end date of the current restrictions, or earlier, if informed by government or the HSE. With this in mind, our next committee meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday the 21st of April next. However, the committee will remain in regular email communication with each other and should there be any changes in that time we will react accordingly.

Please also be assured that we are continuing to work on rescheduling the remainder of the calendar with a view to getting up and running again as soon as the current restrictions are lifted. We are more than likely looking at a reduced number of races in most Leagues and Championships but this will become clearer once we know the time-frame within which we will be operating.

Finally, and with a sincere thank-you to your generous offers in respect of race fees, we will ensure that anyone who has paid for a race which has been cancelled, will be refunded. Please bear with us on this however as there will be quite a bit of work involved. The 3 races rescheduled provisionally for now have not been cancelled. In the unfortunate event of us having to cancel these as opposed to postponing or rescheduling, all entrants will be refunded.
Best wishes to you all and we look forward to seeing you all in person again in happier times.
Lindie NaughtonMar 25 2020, 3:10pmLaura - was about Carrauntoohill scheduled for May 30?
Laura FlynnMar 25 2020, 3:19pmApologies if it wasn’t clear Lindie. All races up to and including the 30th of May are cancelled forthwith. The plan is to reschedule Carrauntoohill if possible. We’ll provide updates as soon as the current situation allows.
Tasha OSullivanMar 25 2020, 6:30pmThe donadea 50k ultra is on the 30th of May
Anne-Marie FlahertyMar 25 2020, 11:49pmIf and only if races are able to be held from 30th May onward, the season is naturally going to be very congested with rescheduled events, in all sports.

People are going to have to be understanding and recognise that organisers are doing their best and not everyone is going to get to do all of the races they might like.

This is not an ordinary year, I know IMRA committee are working incredibly hard, and remember they're all volunteers, behind the scenes and are trying to get the most out of the potential race calendar for members.

There are bound to be clashes. This can't be helped.

You're going to have to make choices about the races you decide to participate in.
Anne KavanaghMar 26 2020, 8:02amWhen an event has been Reschedule ie 30th May aka June bank holiday ...and the participant is unable to run will they be refunded ?
Richard NunanMar 26 2020, 8:42amA decision on refunds for postponed events will be made when we have confirmed date or at our next committee meeting 21st of March.

We have in the past for postponed events allowed people to transfer their entries to other events.
Sarah BradyMar 26 2020, 11:06amWell done and thanks to the committee for all your efforts in this difficult time. :)
Laura FlynnMar 27 2020, 8:09pm.....and well done to our very own Brian Kitson on his letter published in today’s Irish Times...” I can see the fog will soon clear. It’s going to be a beautiful day.” Let’s hope you’re right Brian....I think you are. Looking forward to having you back entertaining is with your race reports soon.
Mick HanneyMar 28 2020, 9:20amSeems like a lifetime away when we would have been looking forward to the Maurice Mullins races originally scheduled for this morning. The ultra would have been just under way. Now, all has changed. Look after yourselves and your families. We look forward to seeing you all again after this crises when we can race again.
Warren SwordsMar 28 2020, 11:07amThanks mick for all the organising. Highlight of calendar.

And worth remembering the man who the race is named after:
Andrew HanneyMar 28 2020, 2:50pmWe will get there. Thanks for the updates.
Maeve HegartyMar 28 2020, 5:34pmThanks to all the IMRA committee and volunteers for working so hard with the ever changing situation during this crisis. Warren thanks for mentioning my Dad and sharing the link to let people know who he was! This race is usually around the time of his birthday (he would've turned 79 tomorrow) and is a fitting and enjoyable way for us to celebrate it. Hopefully we'll get to run it in May, but the most important thing right now is to stay home and safe. Thanks. Maeve Mullins.
Laura FlynnApr 10 2020, 7:33pmSince the talented writers among you aren’t getting any opportunity to write race reports at the moment, the committee has decided to run a writing competition with a €100 Great Outdoors voucher to the winner and a junior (Under 18) prize of an €50 Great Outdoors voucher.

The title of the piece is “My Favourite IMRA Memory.”
It will be limited to 400 words.
It can be as short as you wish.
While it should be broadly based on fact, some poetic licence will be allowed so this could be your chance to rewrite history and have yourself win the Irish Champs.
The deadline for entries is next Friday the 17th of April and the results announced on or before 5pm on Sunday the 19th of April.
Please submit entries to
Mick HanneyApr 11 2020, 3:11pmGreat idea. Is punctuation needed? Checking for Mikey!
Mikey FryApr 11 2020, 6:27pmThanks Mick so at least one person reads my lovely English writing:))
Graham K. BusheApr 11 2020, 8:32pmIt reflects your running style Mikey. Flat out, all go. No time for hanging around or dramatic pauses. And certainly not a full stop..if you didn't pause to catch your breath, why should the reader? ;)
Mikey FryApr 11 2020, 8:59pmThanks gramham:)))
Laura FlynnApr 17 2020, 7:21pmThe committee have been working with Sarah McCormack and Paul Tierney of Missing Link Coaching and hope to start an online program for members starting Monday, the 27th of April. The idea is that it will be in the nature of a challenge so we recommend you get back training soon in preparation. We hope to publish more details next week so keep an eye on the website.
Laura FlynnApr 24 2020, 12:44pmFollowing on from my earlier post, I'm happy to report that our IMRA Lockdown Challenge will shortly be available on our events page. This has been put together by Sarah and Paul and will involve a new training-based challenge every week-day from April 27th to May 8th.

Everything will be designed to fit around or compliment your existing training, will be achievable within a 2km radius of your home and on hilly or flat terrain.

There will be a mix of mobility work, plyometric drills and high intensity running sessions.

There will be a nominal one-off fee for the two-week programme and once you sign up you will receive daily emails with instructions and video.
Jenny Uí ShéApr 24 2020, 1:29pmThat’s great Laura! Looking forward to it . Hope you keeping well
Thankyou Jenny
Alice ClancyApr 24 2020, 6:10pmThanks to Laura and the committee for organising this....Looking forward!
Conor MurphyJan 16 2021, 11:07amUh oh...

The Tanaiste said "we would anticipate that social distancing and restrictions on gatherings will remain in place for many months yet - probably into the summer and autumn, unfortunately".

And I see the Scottish Arran Skyline in June was just cancelled.

I guess the reality is, we could be facing another summer of no races...
Richard NunanJan 16 2021, 11:19amMorning,

Fair to say none of us know the reality at this stage. We ran a number of events with restrictions in place in 2020, Which is why we remain positive in the hope that we will get some events running this year. We are a few weeks from knowing how feasible this will be. At the moment there isnt any information available to enable us to plan what or when those events will be.