Irish Mountain
Running Association

Covid update August 18 2020

Richard NunanAug 18 2020, 8:45pmHi Folks,

In light of the new Covid-19 restrictions which will remain in place until 13 September, we will be canceling tomorrow nights race at Paddock Hill.

The Committee will be meeting tomorrow night, after which we will issue a further update.

Thank you for your continued support

The Committee
Robert CostelloAug 19 2020, 12:44pmThe 15 restriction appears to relate to training groups.
Brian BuckleyAug 19 2020, 5:00pmJust got this from my Triathlon club.

Following consultations with Sport Ireland, Triathlon Ireland can confirm that all our sanctioned events in the Republic of Ireland may proceed as planned under the COVID19 health protection measures issued by the Government last night (Tuesday 18th August).

This means that events with up to 200 people are permitted between August 18th and September 13th providing they abide by the strict guidelines which we have already issued and which have already been approved by the ROI Government.

We remind our community in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland that it is vital every one of us exercises personal responsibility in relation to COVID19 by abiding by the latest advice from our respective governments related to non-sporting activities; by maintaining social distancing and good respiratory hygiene and by hand washing.
Mick HanneyAug 19 2020, 7:03pmI know the committee are working hard for us and will endeavour to make the best decision they can on our behalf. Thanks guys.
Power GanAug 19 2020, 7:05pmThats sounds promising
Kevin SynottAug 19 2020, 8:06pmTriathlon Ireland statement on events until mid September

Triathlon Ireland Events Allowed to Proceed Under Latest COVID-19 Measures

Following consultations with Sport Ireland, Triathlon Ireland can confirm that all our sanctioned events in the Republic of Ireland may proceed as planned under the COVID-19 health protection measures issued by the Government last night (Tuesday 18th August).

This means that events with up to 200 people are permitted between August 18th and September 13th providing they abide by the strict guidelines which we have already issued and which have already been approved by the ROI Government.

For the full statement and all our advice on how to race and train safely, head to:
Laura FlynnAug 19 2020, 8:39pmAs a result of the updated government guidelines announced yesterday, and having communicated with the various entities on which we are dependent for permits etc, the committee have made the difficult decision to cancel or postpone all races scheduled from now until the 13th of September.
We are looking at the feasibility of rescheduling a number of races including the Galty Half, the Maurice Mullins Half, Stone Cross to Lug, the All-Ireland Junior Championship and the Knoclmealdown Half.
We hope to publish updates on these in the coming week and would appreciate your patience and understanding in the meantime.
Hannah GibneyAug 19 2020, 8:56pmThank you so much Laura and committee for your quick communication with the above, tough calls to make but it's for the best. I look forward to when we can all race and volunteer again :)
Gordon PlaceAug 19 2020, 9:35pmThanks to everyone on the committee for all their hard work to date and ongoing attempts to salvage something from this year. Some good races there to still look forward to with a bit of luck
Robert CostelloAug 19 2020, 9:41pmHi Laura,
Thanks to you and the committee for the communication. A real pity especially given other sporting events are going ahead.
Can you clarify if it was the Government guidelines or the bodies we rely on for permits? If it’s the latter is it possible to address this on a race by race basis.
The Government announcement last night has caused a great deal of confusion and in some cases contradiction. As the guidelines are implemented by the various bodies there is bound to be more clarity.
Barry MurrayAug 19 2020, 10:05pmHi Laura and committee,

I’d like to follow up with Robs quiry too.

If a governing body like Triathlon Ireland are able to keep racing with up to 200 competitors, why can’t IMRA races take place too ?

It appears AAI nationals are also going ahead.

Surely IMRA can have a proportionate directive too and directive and maintain the races accordingly?

Maeve HegartyAug 19 2020, 10:11pmMany thanks Laura and all the committee for working so hard to try and make this happen in difficult circumstances with Government announcements lacking clarity. It's disappointing that the Maurice Mullins Half is postponed again but hopefully we'll get there eventually and safely in the future. Let's hope the Maurice Mullins Ultra will go ahead on the 19th. Maeve (Mullins)
Alice ClancyAug 19 2020, 10:37pmThanks to Laura and the committee for all your hard work on this to date - we’ve been really lucky to have had so many great races over July and August. Fingers crossed those postponed races can be rescheduled!
Fiona SmythAug 19 2020, 10:43pmI also want to echo other comments to say thank you to you all for efforts to try & make these races happen. It is really appreciated & hopefully we can have races again soon.
John MurrayAug 19 2020, 11:00pmRob / Barry,

It was a combination of a number of things from both Government and Specific Body Entities which resulted in the decision made this evening by the Committee.

For example, as it stands from this morning all our current permits we had in hand for races up to the 13th have been revoked and if any new permits were to be issued then these would only be given for events/activities of up to 15 people (including helpers/volunteers). That's just one entity to overcome and clear indication of what kind of activity our association falls under.

Regarding AAI Nationals this weekend. That is the only event they are continuing with, and that's behind closed doors. All other events are cancelled or limited to the restrictions announced.

The decision was not made lightly and throughout this whole COVID-19 situation the Committee has tried to overcome all obstacles put in its way while still maintaining the integrity of IMRA and the well being of it's members.

We are all as frustrated as the next person, but optimistic that we'll be back racing again after this short 3 week break. In the meantime we'll be working away in the background as always trying to rejig everything for the umpteen time! :)

I think in the next couple of days more and more events will follow suit, and probably Triathlon Ireland also!

If things suddenly change for the better you can bet we'll be adapting as quickly too.
Robert CostelloAug 20 2020, 12:11amThanks John. Appreciate the response and more detail on the considerations.
Fingers crossed things will improve.
David PowerAug 20 2020, 8:46amAnother word of THANKS to the volunteers on the IMRA committee. I trust their decision and would prefer an elected committee of people makes decisions after reviewing all the facts they have in front of them (which we may not have).
While I appreciate everyone wants events to go ahead and also people want to understand the decision making process that led to the IMRA committee decision, I would like to share a few thoughts:
* Comparing one sporting body to another and the decision they made is not like for like, as there are many unique variables to each sport (event location, permission from local authorities, land owners, state bodies, medical services, risk assessment, etc) -
* Just because an NGB like AAI or Triathlon Ireland set guidelines for activities to continue, each organising body (club, business or sporting body like IMRA) must make a decision based on many complex factors. (e.g. I think you'll see several triathlons cancelled even if they could go ahead. Just look at adventure racing).
* Even if in theory an event can go ahead, they may decide to cancel, due to concerns from the local community, local authorities/bodies, risk assessment on social distancing and many other things, none more so than financial, as many events could in theory go ahead but costs will be higher and they may decide not to proceed at a loss. In this regard IMRA is lucky in that cost of hosting a race is relatively low.
* If IMRA had a full time paid team to organise all this, yes maybe they could follow up on all these possible options, but time is limited and calls need to be made. Events will be cancelled, but it's not the end of the world. We are lucky to be healthy to still get out in the mountains to explore and refresh our minds and body.
Jeff SwordsAug 20 2020, 9:35amIMRA is not unique in cancelling events. the Eco Trails, which were not not due to be ran until the end of September anyway, and the likes of Gael Force, have also been cancelled.

Tough job for the committee to try untangle what's what.
Jeff SwordsAug 20 2020, 9:37am{Bloody double negative, not not}
Conor MurphyAug 20 2020, 9:49amI appreciate private/commercial events may be cautious.

But is IMRA the only national organisation to call off events? I don't see any such reaction from the GAA, the FAI, Triathlon Ireland, Athletics Ireland etc.

Either way, it is what it is. I note John Murray refers to signals from the Government and if Sport Ireland confirmed that IMRA events can't take place, that's the end of the matter. We all appreciate the work of the Committee at this very difficult time.
Emily GlenAug 20 2020, 10:42amHey Commttee, just a note to say thanks for your work on this. You put together a whopper race calendar at the start of the year and then rescheduled it a million times, all with the aim of getting us out to the hills safely. You're all doing this in your spare time and I just wanted to say thanks, I really appreciate your consideration and efforts. Hopefully we'll be back to socially distanced fun in 3 weeks time.
Katherine ReddanAug 20 2020, 10:55amLads The Hardman is still on Killarney next weekend, 29th how can this operate ? If a few people running in the hills cant ? Tis all mad at the moment. I have registered for any races,things keep changing.
Richard NunanAug 20 2020, 11:00amIMRA have provided a number of events in June/July, all the AAI fixtures scheduled in July were all cancelled/postponed. This is available on their website on the fixtures list. We aren't seeing cancellations as they have already postponed cancelled many events over the last few months.

I think the Nationals behind closed doors is confusing people a little here. But all their Provincial Championships were cancelled in June/July. So they need something so like us they have worked hard to get an event to go ahead.

The Cross country season now will be under review and already has a number of TBC's in what at this time is normally a fixed schedule at this time.

Bit to go here folks, but we are happy to have had a few great events this summer
Barry MurrayAug 20 2020, 11:32amThanks John

Coillte permission is our spanner in the works it seems .

Might have to look around for a privately owned mountain route !
Andrew HowardAug 20 2020, 11:38amCycling Ireland races are still going ahead.
Very similar risk to mountain running.

is the issue simply Coillte permits?
Eoin KeithAug 20 2020, 12:03pmCoillte permits would appear to be an issue. I would guess that Natoional Park permits could also be an issue. I don't think CI or TI would have either of those two issues (but would have their own permits to have to sort at race level rather than national body level)
Mick HanneyAug 20 2020, 12:09pmI'd expect we'd have similar issues then to orienteering - certainly for some of our events - Stone Cross, Nav Challenges and the like < 50 runners. Again, confusingly, orienteering events don't appear to be impacted? I stand to be corrected on that.
Andrew HowardAug 20 2020, 12:30pmIf the Hardman Tri in Killarney can go ahead next week in the National Park (while Quest Killarney has been cancelled due to concerns from the NP), then there is a serious lack of consistency, to state the obvious. It seems to depend on how willing each organization is to make their case to go ahead with events.
Lillian DeeganAug 20 2020, 12:43pm@Barry Murray - ain't heard that word spanner in an age. Good of you to bring it back to life.
Stuart ScottAug 20 2020, 1:18pmI find it saddening that so many are looking for loopholes and ways of getting around the new rules. I think the committee have made the right decision to cancel the races until further clarity can be found. We can still go out in small groups so let's be thankful for that!

Orienteering is very different in that all starts are individual so there's virtually no gathering.

Maybe we could go back to solo time trial races until we can resume again?

In the meantime thanks to the committee for a very enjoyable few races in recent weeks!

Justin O'KeeffeAug 20 2020, 1:24pmCommittee - want to say a sincere thanks for all your work behind the scenes & the hours of meetings. Am sure that you did not come to the decision lightly and knowing most of you, that you'd prefer to be out in the hills racing. You run a calendar of incredible events & hope we can all be back to some sort of normal soon. Thank you folks.
Laura FlynnAug 20 2020, 1:41pmThanks to you all for your input on this and thanks especially for the words of thanks and appreciation which mean a lot. We recognize that all the comments and suggestions are well-motivated and that all of you, like us, would love to be out racing in the hills and sharing our war stories.
As earlier posts have already pointed out, we have had to take a number of factors into consideration in arriving at our decision. To compare us to other organisations, I believe, may only create further confusion and frustration as each organisation operates within its own unique circumstances.
I think its important to point out that we have had excellent relationships over the years with Athletics Ireland, National Parks, Coillte, local farmers, Mountain Rescue and others whose facilities we use. These relationships are extremely important and it would not be in the long term interests of IMRA to undermine or jeopardise them in any way. Decisions made by any of these entities have been based on the recent government advices and we are respectfully following, and will continue to follow, the directions we've received from them.
There may be anomalies and inconsistencies in the recent changes and these may be ironed out in the coming days and weeks. If there are any changes favourable to us we will react as best we can.
Finally, I'd like to thank once again, my fellow committee members for the time and energy they continue to put into this. We've had to arrange zoom meetings over the past months at very short notice and they've all been prepared to give up family time and holiday time to attend. I know you all appreciate them too and thanks again for your words of support.
Santina Doherty FarinellaAug 20 2020, 1:56pm@Laura I can only begin to imagine the impact on family time for you and the rest of the committee. It is a huge burden of decision making that no volunteer could have ever imagined. Thanks to all of you for your continued dedication and for assuming this additional responsibility.
Andrew HowardAug 20 2020, 1:58pm@Laura Flynn: Thanks for that, appreciate the difficult situation the committee is in, and I am confident that those of us, myself included, who are questioning the inconsistencies in the interpretation by different Sporting Organizations of the new restrictions, are not in any way criticizing the IMRA committee or trying to find 'loopholes' or find ways of 'getting around the new rules'.

The discussion to date on this forum is of course well motivated, and has involved simply sharing what is happening with other sporting organizations to see if further clarity could be sought from Sport Ireland/National Parks Service/Coillte, and if a way could possibly be found for IMRA races to go ahead within the rules, while maintaining relationships with the various stakeholders of course.

The committee are of course best placed to make the decision. and it's efforts during this difficult time, are certainly recognised and appreciated.
Warren SwordsAug 20 2020, 2:12pmFair play to committee. I presume they didn't quite expect to be managing events during a pandemic when they volunteered back in December.

Done a fantastic job so far. They got us back racing remarkably quickly, and safely, across the country.

My only disappointment is not being able to see Rob Costello attempt to navigate from Stone Cross to Lug.
Val JonesAug 20 2020, 3:35pmThe problem with trying to get permission from state body functionaries, is the easiest answer for them is no.
Andrew HanneyAug 20 2020, 5:30pmThanks to the committee, doing a great job. Hoping the Nav challenges can be saved :)
Jeff SwordsAug 20 2020, 11:14pmSeems like if we had events already planned for we're all good to go ahead with them. it's the Dara Calleary defence. The clown.
Niamh KellyAug 21 2020, 12:00amThanks so much to all the committee we appreciate all the hard work you have put in over the last few months and I know as soon as it is possible you'll have us out on the hills again.

I'm disappointed like everyone else but under the circumstances it the right decision.

See you all out on the hills again soon.
Christopher MurnaneAug 21 2020, 9:40amUpdated info from athletics Ireland.....The 6 indoor /15 outdoor participant restrictions do not apply to competition, events, or tournaments.

Covid-19 Update 21st August | Athletics Ireland
Maeve HegartyAug 21 2020, 11:16amFrom AI website:
NGBs & Clubs with competition, events, tournaments planned up to September 13th 2020 should go ahead as planned with strict public health measures and protocols in place. No Spectators should attend these events.'
From what I've read about tho it sounds like this is more about permits. I'm starting this but completely respect and understand IMRA committee decision. Thanks again
Melanie LaborAug 21 2020, 3:14pmHi all, thank you to the committee for keeping us up to date, I am sure it was no easy decision, but I believe it was the right one under the circumstances. Melanie
Francis ConroyAug 22 2020, 3:50pmGreat credit and thanks to – the IMRA (volunteer) committee, the individual race directors and helpers, and of course the runners who mostly pass me out – to implement the confused messaging re the SARS 2 rules.
To enable an increase in the number of permitted runners I am proposing that the committee consider setting up an “IMRA golfing society” – increase the ‘early start’ numbers to 42, have an ‘extra early start’ and a ‘normal start’ – allowing for the ‘waiters etc’ to run the event this could increase the numbers to 150+ and maybe more, it being an outdoor event.
Michael O sullivanAug 26 2020, 9:26pmHi all

I'm new here and unsure if I can use the payments for the cancelled events when I re enter these same events should they proceed.

Laura FlynnAug 27 2020, 10:57amThis race has been cancelled Micheal and an email was sent to all members who entered setting out the position re refunds. If you entered and did not receive this email you should email me at
Laura FlynnAug 27 2020, 11:11amApologies Michael. My last post doesn't answer your question.
IMRA's policy generally is that we do not allow refunds or transfers. The main reason for this is our races are run at a low cost and by volunteers and thees a lot of work involved in processing transfers and refunds.
However, the Covid-19 crisis has thrown up a different set of challenges for all of us. Some races have been cancelled and some postponed. For the most recent 2 cancelled races, refunds have been offered but we have also given those who entered the option of donating their €7 entry fee to the charities we support, Mountain Meitheal and Mountain Rescue.
If the postponed races do not proceed, refunds will be given.
I hope this answers your query Michael. If not, please feel free to mail me my imra email or call me on 087 7420795. Or indeed anyone else who has a similar query and may not like to post on an open forum.
Laura FlynnSep 9 2020, 12:07pmThe committee has continued to engage with the various bodies on which we rely to enable us put on our events. Earlier this week we are happy to report that we were given the go-ahead from Athletics Ireland for events with up to 200 (including helpers) provided we continue to comply with any government guidelines and our own protocols.

Coillte has also given us the go-ahead on similar terms.

Unfortunately, while they recognise that we are
operating outdoors and the with reduced numbers, the position of National Parks and Wildlife remains the same in that they are not issuing permits for events with more than 15 people. However, if the government restrictions are eased they have committed to reviewing this in line with any easing.

Where this leaves is is as follows:

As of today, we have scheduled the following events:

1. 19th September- Knockmealdown Half
2. 3rd October - Galtee Half
3. 4th October- Mount Leinster
4. 17th October - Nagles
5. 31st October- Aherlow Half and 50k

We are looking at a few more also which only require Coillte permits and will update as soon as we can.

We have decided to wait until the next government announcement which we expect in the coming days as we approach September 13th before we make a decision on Maurice Mullins Ultra and Trial. Anyone who has registered for those events should receive an email shortly from Richard Nunan. We know this is not ideal in terms of planning your training and other commitments but we feel this is the best option for us currently and perhaps the last throw of the dice for Maurice Mullins 2020.
As we’ve always said, refunds will be issued to any entrants who cannot participate on the new dates.
Thanks again to you all for your patience and understanding and fingers crossed for some good news in the coming days.
Alice ClancySep 9 2020, 12:39pmBrilliant news Laura!!! A huge thank you to you and to the committee for all your hard work on this.....We’d better get back to training so!!
John CondonSep 9 2020, 1:01pmGreat news. Thanks Laura and Committee for all the work here.
Christopher MurnaneSep 9 2020, 3:13pmDelighted to hear the good news, Thanks to all in the committee and hopefully we can get a few races before winter!
Sarah BradySep 10 2020, 10:40amThis is awesome. Thanks so much Laura and team. :)
Barry WalshSep 10 2020, 12:21pmGreat news, thanks to the committee!

Will the Nagles half open up soon? Not sure I can make the Galtee half on the new date now...