Gougane Barra Race: A Scenic Challenge

April 29, 2024

The picturesque landscapes of Gougane Barra in County Cork set the stage for the latest instalment in the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA) Munster calendar on Sunday, April 28th. Put together by Race Director Tom Farley, the event marked the third race in the Fog in the Bog league, attracting 51 participants eager to tackle the 9.7km course with 475m of elevation.

Under a radiant sun, runners embarked on their journey at 11am, greeted by ideal weather conditions that added to the allure of the surroundings. Farley remarked, "The sun shone down on a picturesque Gúgán Barra as the runners took off at 11am," encapsulating the perfect setting for a challenging yet rewarding race.

Among the participants, standout performances emerged in both the female and male categories. Siobhan Dineen claimed the top spot in the women's category, followed by Helen O'Callaghan and Debbie McCarthy, showcasing their prowess in navigating the terrain. In the men's category, Anthony Forristal secured victory, with Henry Browne and Nick Hogan sharing joint second place, highlighting the competitive spirit among the runners.

Post-race reflections echoed gratitude towards Farley and the dedicated volunteers who made the event possible. Brian Mullins expressed appreciation, saying, "Thanks to Tom and all the volunteers today." He particularly noted the strategic element of the course design, including a river crossing near the finish that added an exhilarating twist to the race experience.

Gougane Barra IMRA race
Photo by Graham Meikle

Mullins added, "The crossing of the Lee as a fully fledged river just before the finish after having crossed it earlier high up on the mountain via slop, muck, loam, pestilence, misery, and bottomless peat was a nice touch and saved us all from a shower afterwards." His comments reflected the blend of challenge and enjoyment that characterised the race.

The Gougane Barra race stood out not only for its competitive edge but also for the stunning natural backdrop it provided to participants and spectators alike. Despite the challenging winter weather leading up to the event, the day turned out to be one of the driest in Gougane.

Looking ahead, the IMRA Munster calendar promises more exciting races for mountain running enthusiasts. The upcoming events include the Garryduff Woods race on Wednesday, May 1st, marking the first race in the Coillte Summer/Autumn Trail League. Following that, Glengarriff will host the fourth race in the Fog in the Bog League on Sunday, May 5th, offering further opportunities for runners to test their skills in breathtaking surroundings.

The Gougane Barra race exemplified the blend of sport, nature, and camaraderie that defines mountain running, leaving participants and onlookers eagerly anticipating the next challenge on the vibrant IMRA Munster calendar.

Featured Image: Sorcha Kearney

Related News