Dysart Woods IMRA Race Unveils the Spirit of Mountain Running

March 26, 2024

Amidst the tranquil beauty of Dysart Woods, a thrilling display of athleticism unfolded at the Dysart Dash, part of the South Eastern League within the IMRA (Irish Mountain Running Association) calendar, last Sunday. The event, now in its second year, saw a remarkable surge in participation, underscoring the growing allure of trail and mountain running in Ireland.

Race Director Brian Smyth expressed his delight at the event's success, highlighting its significance as an entry point for beginners into the world of trail running. Smyth's passion for Dysart Woods, his preferred training ground, was evident as he described the 6.5km loop through wooded trails, offering a mix of challenging ascents and exhilarating descents, perfectly suited for both novices and seasoned trail enthusiasts.

With 88 eager participants, including a noteworthy 50% representation of female runners, the Dysart Dash showcased the diversity and inclusivity inherent in the IMRA community. From juniors to seasoned veterans, runners of all ages and backgrounds converged to tackle the course, admiring the sweeping views of the Rock of Dunamaise along the way.

Despite the looming threat of rain, the weather held, treating runners to optimal racing conditions. The well-marked route, marshalled at key intersections, ensured a smooth and safe experience for all participants. Volunteers, embodying the spirit of the IMRA community, generously contributed their time and energy, epitomising the ethos of mutual support that defines mountain racing.

As runners crossed the finish line, muddy but triumphant, the true spirit of the event came to the fore. Outstanding performances from junior runners like Rile Connolly, whose blazing time secured him the top spot overall, showcased the promising talent emerging within the sport. Meanwhile, podium finishes for athletes like Sinead Farrell and Barry Minnock underscored the depth of talent among competitors.

Post-race festivities were a celebration of both achievement and camaraderie. As runners refueled with local delicacies and shared tales of triumph and challenge, the sense of community only deepened. A raffle, featuring coveted prizes ranging from running gear to soothing bath salts, added to the atmosphere on the day.

Yet, perhaps the most poignant moment of the day came with the recognition of Tommy Galvin, a stalwart of the IMRA community. Galvin's remarkable milestone of completing his 800th IMRA race at Dysart Woods drew widespread applause and admiration. As he graciously accepted a special commemorative T-shirt, the hills echoed with applause, a fitting tribute to his enduring dedication and passion for mountain running.

Tom Galvin receiving his 800th IMRA race t-shirt.
Tom Galvin receiving his 800th IMRA race t-shirt. Credit: Kamila Beblot

In the embrace of Dysart Woods, amidst the echoes of cheers and applause, the Dysart Dash not only showcased the thrill of trail racing but also embodied the spirit of community that defines the IMRA experience. As runners departed, their hearts filled with memories of challenge and triumph, one thing was clear: the spirit of the mountains would continue to beckon, drawing them back for more adventures on the trails.

Featured Image: Kamila Beblot