Irish Mountain
Running Association

News Item

Welcome to the IMRA Kilmac Running Festival

Hi Everyone

We have been super busy getting ready for another Kilmacanogue Running Festival and
I am only getting to the “Write-Up” with a few days to go…

The excitement will kick off Friday evening with the Ladies Night Challenge. Starting at Kilmacanogue
GAA, the route follows the new trail clockwise around the Sugarloaf. It will start with a gentle climb for
just over 1km. Then the serious climbing begins. As you rise, you will catch glimpses southeast
through the Glen of the Downs towards Greystones. Pause and turn to see Little Sugarloaf behind
you. At a bit over 2.5km you will pass the cone of Great Sugarloaf. The good news is that you will be
continuing around on the trail avoiding the extra steep climb. The Wicklow mountains will be spread
out before you in the night sky as you begin your long descent. Rounding the western slopes will bring
the lights of Bray and the coast into view. Follow the trail all the way down to finish back at the GAA
clubhouse where you can share the tales of your adventure.
Saturday promises a bit of everything. From fast running to endurance testing, marked trails to map
and compass navigation.
The crazy multi directional start of the 5-Tops 1-Drop will get things underway at 8am. Last year in
November we had a clear crisp day with hardened ground. Will the weather play a part this year? The
adventure begins with a steep and tough test – find your best way to Sugarloaf summit. As your tired
and aching legs get you to the top and you breath a sigh of relief, you may (or not) see the other
peaks you must get to. And the good news is that you only have 28km to go! Aim for the arch of the
carpark, follow the Red Lane, cross the R755 where there will be Garda assistance. Out onto the
commons, and your destiny is in your own hands. There are only a couple of lines to take, but are
they better than the road? Marsh and streams await the adventurous! Please do not enter any fenced
fields. Decisions, decisions. Straight into Deerpark woods with the drop and climb? Or stay high and
go around? Then it’s “hit the peaks!” Djouce, War Hill, Tonduff South and Maulin. Just like that. Come
back across the Dargle river and when your poor legs are suitably exhausted, throw yourself down the
Ayling Abyss. But wait there’s more…Now that you’re at the bottom of the forest, you’ll have to find
the best way to climb back out again! Cross the road back onto the Ballyremon commons. Cross the
R755 again at the Garda crossing, up the Red lane, under the Arch. Then it’s any way back to the
barrier at the GAA pitch. Put on a good show as you stagger to the finish line while glancing around to
see who has witnessed you complete your epic journey.

At 8:30 the 12km Long Hill race will get under way. The shortest of the 3 races on Saturday, but don’t
take anything for granted about it being easy. For starters, there’s a 3km climb to the southern
shoulder, but then a nice drop to the carpark. Marshals will direct you onto the Red Lane and towards
the Garda assisted crossing at the R755 Kilmacanogue to Roundwood Road. Follow the lane around
the Ballyremon commons with views over Bray, Scalp, Powerscourt as you go. At the Long Hill a
marshal will turn you for home (half way) Back across the commons as you greet all your fellow
runners. (or maybe that was on the way out) R755, Red lane, carpark and as all is good in the world
you now have another bit of a climb ahead. Up to the base of the cone then turning right is’t downhill
at speed to the end at the GAA barrier. Where at last, you might just be able to catch your breath.

Then at 9am the Sugarloaf – Djouce hopefuls will depart. This also starts with a 3km steady climb to
the junction with the main trail to the summit. But this will be going to the summit too, for that extra bit
of climb! Coming back down the way it went up and descending to the carpark. Out onto the Red
Lane to the R755 following the guidance from all the marshals there please. Continue along the lane
around Ballyremon commons admiring the views while it is nice and flat. Cross the second road again
observing the direction of the marshals. Drop straight down to the fire road. Turn Left and contour
around to the old reservoir. Then the next climb begins. Up the fire road all the way to the Wicklow
Way trail at the small gate. Follow the Wicklow Way towards Djouce. Climb the steep slope to the
summit then, if your legs are still functioning, zoom down to the boardwalk on the southern end. If you
are lucky, you will have fantastic views over the Wicklow hills and roundwood reservoir. Turn left and

follow the sleepers for a bit then narrow trail around the eastern side of Djouce, where you will see
Sugarloaf in the distance. A nice fast grassy descent awaits, turn right at the stile and head for
paddock lakes. The descent here has become quite technical so take care with your footing. Cross
the stream at the bottom. Keep right with the short climb to the car park. Then staying in the woods
parallel to the road as the gentle trail weaves through the trees. At the end of the woods there are 2
felled trees (cleaned off for ease of crossing) Stay beside the deer fence rather that going out onto the
road. Go all the way to the marshal in the carpark before crossing the road. Homeward bound across
the Ballyremon commons, R755 and Red Lane. One last bit of climb, up to the bottom of the cone, but
thankfully you’ve done Sugarloaf already, so turn right and zoom downhill to the finish! Well almost,
the last 400m can feel cruelly long! Arrive at the GAA barrier where you can recover and find
someone else who survived to share your war stories with.

And we’re not saving all the fun for the adults, there is also a 4.7km Junior Race. Due to the length of
the Sugarloaf loop, the junior race will have to start roughly 1.3km up the trail, which also takes a
good bit of the climb out of it too (but not all). A short flat start of around 100m then a climb around to
the main trail. The juniors continue straight across this junction and get onto the long descent to the
finish. The route is mostly gritted trail. The short technical section is on a climb, and there is also a bit
of single track and a grassy section on the descent. This route can also be run by children under 10
once accompanied by an adult who can manage to keep up with them all the way round. :)

A huge thanks to all who have helped putting this event together, to all the volunteers who will be
giving their time and effort to ensure everything runs smoothly and to all the entrants.
Best of luck everyone and enjoy!!
The Kilmac Festival Crew.