Irish Mountain
Running Association

Lifting of Coronavirus restrictions

Peter WilliamsMay 1 2020, 7:41pmLooking at part 6 of the lifting of the Covid19 restrictions, stage 3 (..."sporting activities events where arrangements are in place to enable participants to maintain social distancing" , would this see a return to IMRA events from 29th June forward??
Paul O'GradyMay 1 2020, 8:14pmPhase 1 on the 18th of May allows for:

‘ Outdoor public sports amenities like football and rugby pitches, tennis courts and golf courses will be reopened where social distancing can be maintained’

Therefore with an appropriate set of temporary rules, such as proper distancing at the start, finish and while overtaking, I don’t see why we couldn’t be included in that phase.
Jim FitzharrisMay 1 2020, 8:42pmFair point Paul, but social distancing is feasible only when a race is well under way.

At the start, the pack is cheek by jowl and there would also be issues at registration in an indoor location, etc.

There is also the travel limit: now up to 5 km from 4 May but what will it be on 18 May? Maybe 20 km but very unlikely to be enough to enable us all to gallop down to Laragh, Lacken, Roundwood, etc.

I place my trust in the Committee to monitor the situation and also to take guidance from Athletics Ireland and other supervisory bodies.

We are not the only running show in town: there are BHAA races, triathlons, myriad local events, etc. as well.


Stuart ScottMay 2 2020, 9:43amPaul, you very conveniently left out the second bullet point!

* Open outdoor public sports amenities (e.g. pitches, tennis courts, golf courses etc) where social distancing can be maintained
* Permit people to engage in outdoor sporting and fitness activities, either individually or in very small groups (maximum 4 people), where social distancing can be maintained and where there is no contact

Phase 2 then mentions 'training' in small groups but not 'matches' (which I'd compare to races). Even Phase 3 as Peter points out requires social distancing.

My reading of these rules would be that we'd lie somewhere between Phase 4 and 5 but that participant numbers would be limited. I can't see how the likes of the Leinster League would be allowed at all this summer. Having said that, open mountain races like the Nav Challenges with free route choice and car park beers would lend themselves ideally to social distancing. Once proper procedures are maintained at the start/finish with 2m gaps etc. I'd be happy to organise one or two of these if the committee felt appropriate - but I can't see it happening before August at the earliest.

Laura FlynnMay 2 2020, 10:54amWe hope you’re all continuing to keep positive and healthy in this difficult environment. The committee have been continuing our monthly meetings and maintaining contact via email. We have been waiting for the latest announcement from the Taoiseach before making any further decisions about this year‘s calendar.
We are now reviewing the most recent directions and will be meeting via zoom again on Tuesday of next week to discuss how the easing of the restrictions will affect our events and how best we can implement this year’s calendar while ensuring compliance with the social distancing requirements. We will be posting an updated message on Wednesday the 6th of May. Thanks again to you all for your continued patience and understanding.
Jeff SwordsMay 2 2020, 1:20pmUnless you have time trials with large enough intervals there's no way to maintain any sort of social distancing within a race, particularly around climbs when the pack tends to bunch up and sit on each other shoulders.

Championship races are more suitable alright for the aforementioned reasons, and they attract a smaller crowd.

Nav challenges and orienteering probably more suitable again.
Andrew HanneyMay 2 2020, 9:46pmFree route choice in the remainder of all races, yes! :)
Robert CostelloMay 5 2020, 12:03pmA return of the Wicklow Round?
Derek KellettMay 5 2020, 12:39pmAndrew, so you mean "get lost" ..... reckon I can do that .....
Peter O'FarrellMay 5 2020, 1:41pmChampionship races won't be attracting a smaller crowd if they are the only show in town.
If races in all athletics codes could come back in a coordinated fashion we/they could avoid a very large gathering.
Although part of me would love to see 354 people sign up for a Leinster Champs race!
Warren SwordsMay 5 2020, 5:45pmPeter makes a good point. If IMRA is only game in town, sure even triathletes will turn up...

Wonder if a strava / virtual league is possible if or when mtns open back up. Course is set, people have a week to run it to avoid crowds.

Essentially a time trial.
Barry MurrayMay 6 2020, 9:32amnumbers could easily be controlled to prevent large turnouts by just putting a cap on entries and allowing "online registration" only.

Then like other big races, we could also use a lottery system for each race. So if, for example, and example only, we capped the race entry to 50... but 200 applied. Then we use lottery system to draw the entries so that your race entry is just "luck of the draw" rather than how fast you click and sign up for the race.
Barry MinnockMay 6 2020, 9:51amWarren's idea is a good one.
1. Pick one clearly defined course every week
2. Allow for online entry to feature in results
3. Participants effectively time trial course independently during the week
4. Result to require a 2nd IMRA member to verify, using strava or equivalent
5. Race director simply consolidates verified results and posts at end of week
6. Prize is pride :)
Brendan LawlorMay 6 2020, 10:15amI'd agree.. some form of Virtual racing will be the way to go, with a simple honesty system, post a photo on the website option as was done for the charity relay

Lets see what the committee say today.. there could be insurance, safety and other implications to be considered
Laura FlynnMay 6 2020, 5:35pmFollowing the publication of the Government Roadmap For Re-opening Society And Business, the committee has decided to cancel all IMRA events until after the 10th August 2020.

We are currently working on a revised calendar for the period between 10th August and the end of the year. This will be subject to further clarification on social-distancing requirements and the number of participants permitted by the government/Athletics Ireland/Sport Ireland.

Subject to the above and to the necessary permits being issued to us, we are looking at the feasability of rescheduling the Maurice Mullins Ultra and Trail for the weekend of the 3rd and 4th October. However, we can, at this time offer a refund of entry fees to anyone who has entered the events and does not wish to, or cannot, participate on the new proposed date(s). If you would like to have your entry refunded please email your request to and it will be processed as soon as possible. Please note that once a refund is processed you will not be able to re-enter the event.

We are currently firming up dates for the following races which we hope will take place after the 10th August:- the Wicklow Way Race; the Navigation Challenges 1,2 and 3; the Knockmealdown Half; Stone Cross to Lug Relay and Solo; Glacier Lakes Relay and Solo; Powerscourt Ridge and the Djouce Remembrance Run.

We have also begun working on social-distancing protocols and guidelines so that when we return to competition it will be in a safe and responsible manner.

We will provide you with updates on all of the above on this website as soon as possible and we thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

We expect that there will be limits and restrictions on the numbers racing for the rest of this year. Having considered the matter carefully, in order to be fair to our existing members, the committee has decided to close off 2020 to new memberships for the remainder of this year (or until such time as restrictions are lifted, if this happens earlier).

Finally, in keeping with the tradition and spirit of IMRA, we plan to run two more virtual events for charity in the coming weeks and we will provide details of these as soon as possible.
Torben DahlMay 6 2020, 6:42pmHi Laura,
Really appreciate all the work in the background done by the Committee during all this, thanks! One question though with reference to 'Having considered the matter carefully, in order to be fair to our existing members, the committee has decided to close off 2020 to new memberships for the remainder of this year...'

Does this now mean that long-term IMRA members, having not renewed their 2020 membership, cannot even take part in the upcoming virtual events??
Deirdre GalvinMay 6 2020, 7:32pmHi Laura,

Thank you for that.
Just a quick one, and I totally understand the limitations within which you guys are working. But assuming these races can go ahead, will they be the only races on the 2020 calendar?

Thank you.
Robert CostelloMay 6 2020, 8:00pmWell done Laura and the committee on making a very difficult but sensible decision. Here’s to hoping we will have some racing in 2020.
Peter WilliamsMay 6 2020, 8:08pmThanks for update Laura.

Would be great if the Munster/Leinster/Connaught championship races could be squeezed in to the August 10th - 31st December window??

In the meantime, I think Warren's virtual strava league/races is a great idea.

Permit some thinking out loud... If there was 15/20 mountains/hill segments chosen every fortnight giving people 14 days to run one or more of the segments nearest them. While not everyone will be within 5km of one of the chosen routes (strava segments) or 20km from of one of them from 8th June forward, having 15/20 routes chosen could allow a large % of people to get to one or two of the routes within each two week block.

Perhaps 4/5 segments per province per fortnight ??? Then, if segment location allows, get to one or more of the segments, submit segment screenshot to one person who records the times for that segment, and publish results etc.

So, say Munster (permit my bias!!), a cork segment, a clare/tipp segment, a limerick segment, a kerry segment etc. Could have two per county even? Or three? ...every two weeks.. e.g. 18th May to 1st June for completion of the first segment..perhaps call each two week block a round. Could have 5 rounds by the time 10th August comes around....a virtual league. Volunteers needed to admin each segment. Ill volunteer to choose a segment, and record times for anyone within 5km of Moylussa/Tountina.

It wont suit everyone as they may not be 5km or 20km even from a hill but it could be an idea worth exploring???
Peter WilliamsMay 6 2020, 8:12pmBarry, apologies, just seen your reply to Warren...yeah, same idea!!
Mick HanneyMay 6 2020, 8:32pmThanks so much to our hardworking committee. Not easy at any time but its especially true at the moment. Looking forward to when we can get back onto the hills.
Laura FlynnMay 6 2020, 10:25pm@Torben. That’s a good point and actually something we hadn’t thought of. We will look at it again once we have finalised the format of the virtual charity events.
Emily GlenMay 7 2020, 9:07amHey Laura, Thanks to you & the Cmte for re-wrking the race calendar for 2020 and for taking some tough but necessary decisions so far. It's really appreciated. Really excited about the virtual charity races, and would be up for continuing the Lockdown Challenge as long as Paul & Sarah can think of new things for us all to do. Thanks again for your work! Emily
Caitlin BentMay 7 2020, 9:33amLaura, I would be in the same position as Torben, and I would say, many more long standing Members, as I haven't renewed my membership for 2020 yet due to injury. This year sees the 40th anniversary of the founding of IMRA (or IHRA) and I am luck to have been running/walking the races ever since:)
Laura FlynnMay 7 2020, 10:12amThanks for alerting us to that Caitlin. We’ll certainly take that into account as we would not want long-standing and loyal members such as yourself to be adversely affected by the move.
Jim DurhamMay 11 2020, 12:36pmLaura and committee, thanks for all your work on this year's calendar of events and all the reworking of it. It looks like the biggest mountain we'll climb in 2020 is Covid-19, which is also becoming its longest endurance event. Thanks.
Sarah BradyMay 12 2020, 9:54amThanks for all your work, Laura and committee! Just wondering is there any possibility of the Reeks Skyline being added to the list of races to be fitted in in Autumn? Think it'd be an awful shame to lose that one, there's nothing else like it in our calendar! I know you're doing what you can though in difficult circumstances, and I suppose everyone has different ideas about which races to prioritise. Thanks, Sarah.
Avril ChallonerMay 12 2020, 10:32amSarah I second that, Reeks Skyline was one of my favorite races of last year. It is a fantastic course. As you say though rearranging everything will difficult and its understandable that not everything can be accommodated.
Bojan PovsicMay 12 2020, 8:45pmHello everyone! New member! Coming from Croatia. Just moved to Cork few months ago. Big fan of trail running and hiking. Can't wait for lockdown to end, and to join racing community!
Conor MurphyMay 13 2020, 2:49pmWon't the introduction of a ex post facto cut off for registrations possibly penalise those who were injured or simply waiting for the serious Championship races to come round? If the logic is to carry through, then if a race is, say, to have a limited entry to 100, it should be on the basis of going through the registration and seeing who were the first 100 to register as IMRA members.

And, on a similar vein, when looking at the diary of events, would the first ones to consider be the Championship races?
Mícheál O'MullainMay 13 2020, 3:21pmIt is not an enviable task to try and reschedule but I would have thought that if only a couple of races were to take place that the IC (being open mountain) races should get priority.
Laura FlynnMay 20 2020, 5:22pmThe committee are continuing to work on Social Distancing protocols in anticipation of a return to competition post-August 10th and to liaise with Athletics Ireland and Sport Ireland regards number limits and other issues
In the meantime we have scheduled two Virtual Charity Relays for the 9th and 24th of June in aid of Mountain Meitheal and Mountain Rescue respectively.
In view of the response we received ( via this forum and other channels) to our proposal to close off membership for the remainder of the year, we have decided to leave it open and hope that we’ll all have an opportunity to enjoy it in the coming months. We feel it’s only fair however to point out that if we are restricted on the numbers we are allowed there can be no guarantee of entry to events. We remain optimistic however and look forward to seeing you all in the hills soon.
Peter WilliamsMay 20 2020, 6:12pmThanks Laura

What do the virtual races in June involve?
Dave DochertyMay 20 2020, 7:52pmPeter
Gordon PlaceMay 20 2020, 7:54pmHi Peter, the details are on the event pages. Basically sign up, you'll be allocated a team at random, run the distance within your 5km radius and upload your time
Peter WilliamsMay 20 2020, 8:41pmCheers guys
Peter WilliamsJun 5 2020, 5:16pm20th July is now the final phase (replacing 10th august in full) as per Rte.......... so IMRA calendar recommences from then?
Christopher MurnaneJun 5 2020, 7:56pmThe sooner the better.....hopefully get back while the weather stays good!!
Warren SwordsJun 12 2020, 2:58pmAnything to be said for adopting similar approach to Orienteering Ireland with their DIY events?

"This is a facility whereby orienteers and beginners can walk or run orienteering courses, in their own time, and record their time on a leaderboard."

Given there won't be a return to races till August 10th, might be worth considering.

With the new rules, a lot of people should be able to do the Leinster League courses. 5 of the races are in Dublin, 8 Wicklow.
Laura FlynnJun 13 2020, 3:04pmBy way of update to all our members, you will have seen Richard and Lillian’s recent posts re the Wicklow Round and the Wicklow Way Race. In relation to the calendar in general, as they have said, we are continuing to work on our protocols for getting back to running IMRA events in a safe and responsible manner in accordance with Government guidelines and to liaise with our governing body, Athletics Ireland. We remain optimistic that we will back in the hills soon and will provide you with regular updates via this forum and the website.
Our next virtual relay will be the 24th of June in aid of Mountain Meitheal and we look forward to your support. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.
Paul O'GradyJun 19 2020, 7:35pmIt looks like Brockagh might be back on for the first 200 runners (as usual!). Fingers crossed!