Conquer the Heights: The Exciting Return of the Mt. Claragh Race

March 15, 2024

The Mt Claragh race, the second installment in the IMRA (Irish Mountain Running Association) Fog in the Bog league, promises an exhilarating experience for mountain running enthusiasts. Returning to the calendar in 2023, this race is back again for 2024, much to the delight of seasoned participants and newcomers alike.

Race Director Jeremy Kelleher, speaking to Run Republic, shed light on what makes the Mt Claragh race a standout event in the mountain running calendar. Embracing the classic formula of starting in the heart of the town, the race quickly catapults participants into the rugged terrain of Mt Claragh. This unique route offers a mix of surfaces, beginning on the familiar asphalt of the town's streets before transitioning to the winding paths through Coillte woods.

As runners ascend, they are greeted by the serene beauty of the open mountain, with panoramic views stretching across Millstreet and beyond to the north Kerry plain. The challenging 7km out-and-back course demands both physical endurance and mental fortitude, testing participants as they navigate varying terrain and elevation changes. However, the true reward awaits those who conquer the ascent – a thrilling descent that tests the skills of even the most accomplished descenders. With a bit of leg speed left for the final road stretch, runners are pushed to give their all until they cross the finish line.

One of the defining features of the Mt Claragh race is its inclusivity. In line with the ethos of many IMRA races, the event caters to a diverse range of participants. A kids' race for under 10s provides an opportunity for young runners to experience the thrill of mountain running in a supportive environment. Additionally, a short course option allows those seeking a less daunting challenge to still participate and enjoy the camaraderie of the event. For those who prefer an early start, an option is available, ensuring that everyone, from novice to experienced mountain runners, can partake in this exhilarating outing in north-west Cork.

The resurgence of the Mt Claragh race reflects the growing popularity of mountain running in Ireland. As more individuals seek to challenge themselves in the great outdoors, events like this provide the perfect opportunity to test one's limits while immersing oneself in the natural beauty of the Irish landscape.

With its challenging course, stunning scenery, and inclusive atmosphere, it is no wonder that this event continues to draw participants. Whether you're a seasoned mountain runner or a newcomer to the sport, the Mt Claragh race offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you craving more from the Fog in the Bog league. 

Featured Image: Jeremy Kelleher, RD.

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