Irish Mountain
Running Association

Good challenge for a begginer

Rowan HealyOct 14 2020, 12:43pmI was talking to my girlfriend about her training and she was saying the two times she has been really motivated to go to the gym and achieve something were when we were planning on doing a trek in India/Indonesia and she knew she needed to work on her fitness. Travel for next year is not looking positive, certainly not to India so I was thinking of suggesting picking something to do in Ireland that would be a good challenge.

Obviously there are no mountains several thousand meters high to climb here but I was thinking there probably is something in Wicklow that would be difficult for a beginner to do in a day without just being really long distance.

Something like summiting a few mountains in a loop that would be less than 20km distance in total and have some really steep parts.

Just wondering if anyone had any suggestions, this seems like the best place to ask..
Sarah BradyOct 14 2020, 2:46pmHi Rowan,
You should take a look at the Wicklow Round challenge! The whole thing would be bigger than what you're looking for, but you could aim to do it over a few days, or else just take a section of it! In my opinion the hardest bit is if you start at the Wicklow Gap and go as far as Sheepsbank Bridge, taking in Tonelagee, Scarr, Knocknacloghoge and Lugalla. That comes in at around 24km. Ye might get a taste for it then and want to train for the whole thing!
Stuart ScottOct 14 2020, 3:03pmHi Rowan. I hope your girlfriend actually wants to do this training? :-)
For something less off-roady, she could try the Run the Line route ( - it's about 24k around the Dublin hills. Any of the IMRA 'circuits' (Circuit of Glenmacnass, Avonbeg, Glendalough etc.) would also make for a decent day on the hills. Just look back at previous years' events and you should see them.
Sarah BradyOct 14 2020, 3:14pmAgree on the circuits! Also 'To Hell with the Fairies' is a cool loopy half marathon in the Dublin mountains. It starts and finishes at Hellfire. Bit easier than the other suggestions.
Brendan LawlorOct 14 2020, 3:45pmTwo other options

Glendalough- Camaderry (up the steep track, rather than the forest path)-Turlough Hill-Wicklow Gap- Tonelagee-Brockagh- Back to Glenalough


Glendalough-Camaderry-Turlough Hill-Wicklow Gap- Tonelagee- Glenmacnass Waterfall- Scarr-Paddock Hill- Back to Glendalough
Alice ClancyOct 15 2020, 9:30amThere’s such lovely suggestions here it’s really making me miss the Wicklow hills !! :-(
Rowan the circuits would be a great place to start- circuit of Brockagh is really nice- I think it’s the second loop Brendan is describing. 1372m climb, 27.9k. Here’s a link to it:
If you guys get a taste for it moving on to looped portions of the Wicklow round like Sarah suggests is a brilliant challenge! It brings in navigation and planning and will bring you to parts of the mountains much less travelled.
Rowan HealyOct 15 2020, 8:56pmHey folks, thanks for the suggestions, sounds good. I will check them out.

I think ideally I'd she would be more into something shorter with more elevation but perhaps that would be tough to find in Ireland/Wicklow.

I saw the documentary on the Wicklow round, I'd love to try doing it over a few days with camping between. I have been trying to talk to guys I'm running with into fastpacking but they are not really going for it. Maybe next year.
Brendan LawlorOct 16 2020, 8:55amHi Rowan

This route on Maulin (from Crone Car Park) gives you good elevation per kilometre of travel

If you do the route in reverse its even better (or worse!)
Warren SwordsOct 16 2020, 10:54amIn terms of more elevation and less distance, the first half of the circuit of Avonbeg is hard to beat, and you get to the summit of the highest mtn in Wicklow. Steep climb of 800 metres or so, over 9km.

You also get to see Art's Lough which is spectacular on a nice a day. Can either go to Lug and back the same way, or head back via Table Track for a nice loop. You would need to have some navigational skills and be prepared for bad weather.