Irish Mountain
Running Association

Nav Challenge 1

Stuart ScottJul 27 2022, 11:16amLooking for about 4 volunteers for this race please - a first aider, someone to put out controls (with an ability to navigate please!), another to take in controls and someone with a loud voice to help at registration.

Location and details TBC. Stone Cross is the day before so distances might be slightly shorter than usual, we shall see...or else Stone Cross runners might get a time bonus. Either way, try to do both races if you can!
Sean ForsythJul 27 2022, 12:24pmHI Stuart,

Are Juniors(under 10) allowed to do these races?


Stuart ScottJul 27 2022, 12:58pmHi Sean,

I'll have to defer to the Committee on this one but I think even the short course will exceed the maximum distance allowed for under-10s. Potentially we could consider a 'fun course' for accompanied minors - I'll let you know after I check with the Committee. In the meantime, I'd recommend checking out the Orienteering Ireland events (, in particular next Tuesday's one in Ringsend. Each orienteering event has a range of courses to suit all ages and abilities!

Sean ForsythJul 27 2022, 2:44pmThanks Stuart,

I appreciate you checking.

I'll look into the orienteering Ireland site, might be the route to go down.

Brendan DelaneyAug 2 2022, 10:52amHi Stuart, I'm down as a running volunteer. I can help with the registration and can take in the controls after.
Joseph BoyleAug 10 2022, 8:51amStuart, have you any details on general location yet, for maps?
Stuart ScottAug 10 2022, 9:26pmGood question Jody! We'll be using the East West Lug and Glendo one. I'd toyed with the idea of going with a vintage Sheet 16 for the craic but sourcing enough copies of the maps would have been tricky. I'll let ye know the exact start location when our permit is confirmed.

Brendan, that's brilliant thanks.

Niamh O'CeallaighAug 12 2022, 9:28amHi Stuart,
I can prob volunteer. If you can send me the location I can confirm. Thanks. Niamh
Eoghan BrennanAug 12 2022, 12:45pmHi,

I'm interested in doing this race, I have lots of orienteering experience and plenty of races done in the past, but how does this work? Do I need my own map? If so, what sheet number do I need?

Kind Regards
Paul SmythAug 12 2022, 1:01pmHi Eoghan,

The map you need is the 1:25000, EastWest Mapping, Lugnaquilla & Glendalough map. You can order it direct from their website ( On the day of the event you will be provided with a control description sheet which you then mark up onto your map.

I don't recommend the encapsulated versions as they are very bulky to carry and hard to fold down to the part of the map you are using. The paper maps are just that, paper, so you will need a plastic bag to protect it from the environment.

Note that in the past some Nav. races have provided pre-marked A4 maps. This year, for Nav. 1 and 2 at least, you need to provide your own copy of the map.
Stuart ScottAug 15 2022, 9:15pmJust to confirm, anyone running the Stone Cross Solo or Relay will qualify for a 10 minute bonus at Nav Challenge 1. So if you're on the fence about doing both, don't worry and sign up now!

Start location for Nav Challenge 1 will be the Wicklow Gap carpark. I'll post a full update tomorrow.
Stuart ScottAug 16 2022, 1:09pmHi all,

The first Nav Challenge takes place this coming Sunday. Final details are as follows:

Parking: Wicklow Gap (Inner) Carpark, O 074 001

Start Time: 1030, early start 1000

Entries: Entries will open at 8pm Wednesday (tomorrow) and will close at 6pm on Saturday. Vouchers will be accepted on the day if you're registered for the year and are lucky enough to still have one! ALL RUNNERS MUST SIGN IN AT REGISTRATION REGARDLESS OF ENTRY METHOD.

Description: A nav challenge is a navigation race where competitors use a map to find checkpoints. A list of six figure grid references will be given out at the start of the race. Make sure you bring a pen to mark up the map! Checkpoints are generally on obvious features but route choice is key! To make the race as inclusive as possible 5 minutes later a master map may be inspected for those wanting to ensure they have transcribed the grid references correctly. Navigational experience is recommended; however, the short course is more suitable for less-experienced navigators. A dedicated volunteer will be on hand at registration to provide advice if required.

a) Long 13k, 950m climb (as the crow flies - plan for 16k-ish if you're not a crow)
b) Short 7k, 450m climb (as the crow flies - plan for 10k-ish if you're not a crow)

Cutoffs: Courses close at 1500. After this time, all remaining runners should make their way to the finish line as quickly as possible.

Map: East/West Mapping Lugnaquilla & Glendalough 1:25,000 (2018 Edition). Available from and outdoor shops. Runners must supply their own map. Users of other maps \ map editions will be at a distinct disadvantage.

Time Bonus: A 10 minute time bonus will be applied to all who participated in the Stone Cross Solo and Relay (declare this at registration).

Minimum Mandatory Kit TO BE BROUGHT TO REGISTRATION (final kit will be decided on the day):
* Map
* Compass
* Whistle
* Waterproof Cover for Map and Descriptions
* Pen for Marking the Map
* Jacket
* Food
* Water
* Fully Charged Phone
* Hat
* Suncream
* Emergency Bag \ Foil Blanket

Safety: The emergency contact number is on the back of your bib (call only, don't text). All runners must report to the finish line to avoid an unnecessary search. Courses are on remote open mountain with rough terrain. Appropriate footwear and clothing must be worn. Runners must carry a fully charged mobile phone. Consider additional kit above the mandatory kit based on your own requirements and weather conditions on the day.

Navigational Assistance: Due to the nature of the race, GPS or other forms of navigational assistance are not allowed in order to remain competitive. However, if you are navigationally challenged, you are welcome to team up with another runner or use GPS provided you declare yourself as non-competitive at the finish line. Note, if you do decide to use GPS, you must still carry a map and compass. A dedicated volunteer will be available at registration to give a very brief introduction to map reading to those who need it. Assistance will also be provided in marking up the control points on the map after the race has started.

Refreshments: Refreshments in lieu of spot prizes will be provided at the finish line.

Thanks to all those who've volunteered, I'm ok now.

Any more questions, feel free to post here.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Ger PowerAug 17 2022, 11:18pmDoes anyone need a map? I couldn't find mine so I bought a new one. Then my old one turned up. It is encapsulated as the control sites can be removed for future use.
Andrew HanneyAug 18 2022, 12:19pmHi Ger, I’ll take that map if still available. I need to replace my old one. Thanks, Andy.
Stuart ScottAug 19 2022, 8:47pmDon't forget, online entries close tomorrow evening at 6pm. Those with vouchers are welcome to enter on the day provided they're registered with IMRA for the year.

If you're on the fence, just come along and try it! The short course is mostly a lovely runnable open mountain circuit with minimal nav required. And those who want to practice their nav can find a few shortcuts! The long course is a bit more interesting.

There'll be plenty of food and refreshments at the finish line to provide an incentive to get back. Though you may find the RD's appetite grows as the 3pm cutoff approaches!

Hopefully see you there!

Stuart ScottAug 19 2022, 10:06pmOne more thing, there will be water, tea and coffee provided at the finish but for environmental reasons (and not because I forgot to buy any), there will be an extremely limited supply of cups. So please bring your own if you can. Otherwise we can improvise!
Fergal BuckleyAug 19 2022, 11:20pmI've some unclaimed prizes and a few items of lost property from this year's Irish Orienteering Championships, which I'll bring to the Nav Challenge this Sunday.

I have prizes for:

Kathryn Barr,
Ger Power, 
Gavan Doherty, 
Ann O'Suilleabhain,
Anastasia Mahlych (LVO)

And items to reunite with:

Ruth Lynam,
George Savell (LVO)

If there's no one connected to LVO around,  I'd be most grateful if someone planning on attending the NI Champs could take the LVO stuff up on my behalf.

Andrew HanneyAug 21 2022, 4:04pmWell done Stuart and co on a great race, for booking the good weather and having one of the finest spread of after race refreshments I've seen.
John GreeneAug 21 2022, 4:13pmthanks Stuart, water melons and an ice box of club oranges... what more could you ask for at the finish line.
Stuart ScottAug 21 2022, 8:44pmHi all,

Thanks to all those who braved the sun and distinct lack of misery (until the courses began, that is) up at the Wicklow Gap today. I was getting worried earlier in the week when we had zero entries but it was great to see 44 turn up today, including not one but TWO James Cahills!

Provisional results are below. Please let me know if you spot any errors. Congratulations to our top three finishers on the Long: Kathryn Barr, Niamh O'Boyle and Ruth Lynam and Paul Mahon, John O'Donovan and Ruairi Short. Congratulations also to Hilary Jenkinson who won the short course, followed quickly by Joe Lalor. In a field weighted heavily by orienteers, it was great to see other IMRA members taking part and doing so well, albeit some were thwarted by that elusive crag!

Sincere thanks to the helpers, especially Justin Rea, Fergal Buckley, Shay Foody and Niamh O'Ceallaigh for taking in controls (it'll be a while before I can face another trip up those mountains!). And of course to Joe Lalor for coordinating the Nav Challenge series so well. Looking forward to next week!


Position Race Number Name Stone Cross Bonus Adjusted Time Comment
1 246 Mahon, Paul N 02:16:15 M1
2 125 O'Donovan, John N 02:22:49 M2
3 2990 Short, Ruairí N 02:36:02 M3
4 549 Power, David N 02:38:23
5 1743 Barr, Kathryn N 02:39:52 F1
6 1649 Tyner, Angus N 02:43:18
7 651 Vines, Liam Y 02:45:59
8 2995 O'Boyle, Niamh N 02:47:37 F2
9 814 Dobbs, Neil N 02:53:35
10 1903 Hennessy, Adrian N 02:56:46
11 2190 O'Meara, Brían N 03:03:37
12 2334 Lawless, Terry N 03:11:10
13 231 Long, Mike N 03:21:51
14 2610 Alcock, Ian N 03:24:02
15 2981 Tivnan, Des N 03:24:03
16 2313 Lynam, Ruth N 03:25:46 F3
17 2981 Tivnan, Des N 03:24:03
17 2356 Kinsella, Hugh N 03:30:32
18 2996 Brennan, Killian N 03:31:07
19 1395 Boehm, Daniela N 03:32:46
20 163 Smyth, Paul N 03:34:55
21 547 Delaney, Brendan Y 03:39:23
22 122 Jürgens, Maike N 03:51:43
23 2992 Dolan, Brian N 04:22:21
24 1060 Power, Ger N DNF
25 702 Cahill, James H N DNF

Position Race Number Name Stone Cross Bonus Adjusted Time Comment
1 823 Jenkinson, Hilary N 02:06:55 F1
2 1133 Lalor, Joe N 02:07:43 M1
3 1660 Whelan, Cillin N 02:14:50 M2
4 670 Jackson, David N 02:17:54 M3
5 787 Brennan, Eoghan N 02:18:46
6 1288 Hanney, Andrew N 02:18:59
7 1513 Holohan, Paddy N 02:20:52
8 1504 Pegman, Sandra N 02:23:13 F2
9 796 Greene, John N 02:25:55
10 129 Geelon, Dan N 02:30:44
11 55 Boyle, Joseph N 02:30:54
12 92 Lynch, Ronan N 02:30:55
13 435 Rowden, Linda Y 02:42:28 F3
14 2989 Cahill, James N 02:47:11
15 1988 Moore, Fia N 02:52:25
16 990 Cannon, Peter N 03:14:00
17 260 O'Gorman, Vivian N 03:33:19
17 710 Galvin, Thomas N 03:33:19
18 600 Reid, Caroline N DNF
Stuart ScottAug 21 2022, 8:47pmOh I forgot to say, please upload your routes to the Strava Flyby. Not only is it interesting to see which route choices were fastest, it's very useful from a planning perspective to see how others viewed the course.

Perhaps one of the Strava Gurus could post some instructions on how to get the routes up there?


Caroline ReidAug 21 2022, 8:58pmMassive thanks to Stuart, Justin and all the team for a great day out. Sorry for delaying ye and thanks for waiting for me. Back to nav school for me :)
Brendan LawlorAug 22 2022, 12:52pmHi

Does anyone have the control locations from Sunday's races ?
Brendan LawlorAug 22 2022, 1:03pmI have these now, thanks Mike
David PowerAug 22 2022, 10:18pmThanks Stuart and the volunteers for a great day out at the Wicklow Gap. I learnt a lot. Blog now in report section.
Stuart ScottAug 23 2022, 11:20amThanks David. Great report!

Thanks to all those who uploaded their routes to the Strava Flyby too. If the rest of ye could add yours as well that'd be really helpful. Both comparing your track with what you saw on the ground and comparing your route choice with others is a very useful way to improve your nav skills.

To turn it on, you need to go to Settings / Privacy / Flyby and change the dropdown to 'Everyone'. This allows all your publicly available tracks to appear in Flybys. Then separately, you need to go to your Nav Challenge track and change the visibility to Public. (If you don't want your other tracks to appear in other Flybys, make sure they're set to Private or Friends Only!).

From the routes there already, it's interesting to see that most people had a similar plan and headed up the service road. Paul's is the most original and even shorter than the crow! Proof that a bit of time spent planning at the start can pay dividends. The crag caught a lot of people out. Again, that's where route choice plays a part and deciding to approach from below can help. Another safe approach is to find the col, then handrail the river down until you see the crag amongst the steep ground on the right. Or else there's the risky option where you take a bearing and hope for the best! In this case, it's important to have what's called a 'catching feature' in mind to tell you you've gone too far - the river junction where it meets the path is an obvious one. However, as some of ye discovered, marking the controls in the right place to start with is vital! Again, this is where the extra few minutes spent at the start can make a big difference.

Anyway, glad ye all enjoyed it and hopefully you'll make it back for the next two events! For anyone who'd like to brush up on their finer nav skills, I'd recommend any of the Orienteering Ireland events at . The orienteering season kicks off shortly and it's a great way to practice your nav and rough ground running skills over the winter, ready for all the IMRA Championship races next year!

Stuart ScottAug 23 2022, 11:23amAlso, for the armchair navigators, here are the control sites. Have a think about what route you might have taken! (Brendan, where would you have gone? :-) ).

Long: All 7 Controls (A to G), Any Order
Short: First 4 Controls (A to D), Any Order

WARNING: The R756 Road is strictly OUT OF BOUNDS. Cross at right-angles only. Any competitor who runs along the road will be DNF’d.

Control Course Grid Ref Description
Start\Finish Long and Short T 076 000 Carpark Corner
A Long and Short T 082 993 Summit
B Long and Short T 093 990 Ruined Wall
C Long and Short T 088 976 Crag
D Long and Short T 067 997 Stream \ Fence Junction

E Long T 072 971 Boulder (SW Side)
F Long T 105 005 Lake
G Long T 109 991 Summit