Irish Mountain
Running Association

Mweelrea weather thoughts

Mick HanneyAug 8 2021, 7:55pmMweelrea was a very enjoyable race and thanks to the organisers as ever. It tends to be a topic of conversation that Mweelrea is weather impacted. I looked at results and from what I can tell. in 9 events we have only gone to the summit 4 times - a low 44%.
1 2011 summit
2 2012 summit
3 2013 col
4 2014 col
5 2015 col
6 2016 col
7 2018 summit
8 2019 summit
9 2021 col
In addition, on 2 of the times that we went as far as the col, the runners missed the marshall, due to the weather conditions. Nobodys fault, such is life in the bad weather in the hills.

A suggest that perhaps in the future, we swap out Mweelrea? Or, we make a call in the days before on the bad weather option? It could be another hill e.g. Croagh Patrick, or another in the general extended Westport area. Dahreen is a long way to travel to have a high chance of running a comparatively low level race, 2k of which is tarmac road. Just putting it out there for discussion.
Laura FlynnAug 8 2021, 8:08pmGood to have those stats Mick, I actually loved Mweelrea on Saturday but not getting to summit is a problem and I suppose you could maybe say it dilutes the Connacht Champs when that happens.
It would be great to fit in Croagh Patrick again. It’s such an iconic mountain and close to base if we’re staying in Westport area. There are a few route routes up that would mean we can avoid the busy pilgrim path so hopefully this can be explored for next year.
Gordon PlaceAug 8 2021, 8:51pmIf parking could be arranged or overcome, there's a great route over via Crott - Croagh Patrick far east - Croagh Patrick east
Deirdre GalvinAug 8 2021, 9:14pm9 mountain miles can be run on the Reek, literally traversing the length of range, with a traverse around to the east face of the mountain at the start. It offers about 1,100 metres of elevation in total. We join the pilgrim path at the shoulder, summit the normal route, then head as far west as we can
It offers a whole different perspective of the mountain. It would require a bus pick up at the end, with a starting point just outside Murrisk. It's one of my favourite runs down here. I am sure parking could be arranged with a farmer the Murrisk end.
Vivian O'GormanAug 8 2021, 10:23pmWe do have a route starting at Campbells Pub running up the pilgrim
path past the church over Ben Gorm to the end of
the ridge finishing in a farmers field. We had a bus to bring us
back to Campbells. We actually haven't run this for a few years...
Justin ReaAug 9 2021, 9:56amThere is a route from the campground where we stayed in Lecanvey, that heads up the east side of the stream running down from between Ben Goram and the Reek. Alice is looking into using this for a future CC and starting/finishing/bbqing at the campground. Plenty of parking there.
Stuart ScottAug 9 2021, 11:24amI agree with a lot of your points Mick, but I wouldn't write off Mweelrea entirely. It's the highest mountain in Connacht and on a clear day it's an exceptional race. It's not without it's safety issues though and every year I've done the shortened race it's been absolutely the right call. With 650m of climb to the col, the shortened race is still not to be sniffed at - it's not that far off Lug at 718m and even Nephin (the second highest mountain in Connacht) at 736m. It's not all about summiting! The key issue in my mind is the lack of a clear turning point and without this, it ceases to be a race. Our plan this year had been to place an orienteering marker at the turning point which would have been easily visible and obviated the need for a summit marshal (who is there for safety, not for navigation). Unfortunately due to my late arrival on the Friday, it didn't get up the hill in time! A number of us did find the exact turning point but it's clear from Strava that a number overshot. It would be worth trying this again I feel.

Having said that, I'd still be open to alternatives. Croagh Patrick is certainly handy for the festivities. There are plenty of routes that avoid the popular areas but surely there are other mountains in Connacht?! I'd love to see races on some of the other hills instead and leave Croagh Patrick for the tourists. Ben Gorm used to be a regular fixture at the Connacht Champs ( Or the Sheefeies? Both wouldn't be much further from the 'event centre' as Silver Strand. Another option is to move the Irish Champ race to Nephin (as the second highest mountain in Connacht) and then the world's our oyster for the 'fun run'. Parking could be an issue at Nephin though.
Maike JürgensAug 9 2021, 12:57pmJust as a reminder: Croagh Patrick was run as the 'main' race in 2017 after not summiting Mweelrea for a number of years ( it worked but i believe there was some voices saying Mweelrea should be the main CC (and IC) race as the idea is to have the hightes mountains by province in the IC (if i remember the argument correctly). Hence, 2018 was Mweelrea again. The option of a weather dependent Croagh Patrick vs Mweelrea decision point a few days in advance of the race was discussed also but too complex due to bus needs for Croagh Patrick race.
Conor MurphyAug 9 2021, 1:13pmHands up, I've only run Mweelrea in sunshine (and even at that I managed to pick the wrong descent!). But have hiked it in zero visibility so know it's tricky.

But isn't that just part and parcel of the sport? Is it significantly more dangerous than Caher Ridge, or skirting the north face of Galtymore in zero visibility? In fact, is it not, legally, dangerous to change one race for weather reasons, but not others. Because in the event of a serious accident the defence that a runner always assumes the risk could be met by the claim that in at least one case the organisers appreciate the risk and change the race accordingly?
Brian FureyAug 9 2021, 9:47pmI think Croagh Patrick from Campbell's to Lecanvy is a great route. Could there be an out and back from Lecanvy to the top of CP?

Mweelrea 9 times out of 10 will be low visibility. However it's also grassy route and offers alot route wise. Making a mandatory point on the north col like that is the way to go even if going to summit. Keep MW there in rotation!

There is also Ben gorm at Ashleigh falls which is a good 2nd day route.

Nephin is not really a Irish championship route.
Deirdre GalvinAug 10 2021, 12:26pmStraight up and down from Lecanvey is a fantastic, fast route. The first 300 metres of climb are runnable; then make a fantastic sprint finish! You then get a very steep, hands on quads section, which on the way down makes for some quick feet requirements. As there is a vague outline of a path much of the route, it is mostly weather proof.