Inaugural Knockmealdown Mountain Ultra Challenges Runners

April 22, 2024

On Saturday, April 20th, the inaugural Knockmealdown Mountain Ultra took place, drawing 55 adventurous runners to tackle a challenging 65km course with a daunting 3,000 meters of elevation gain. The event kicked off at 7am amidst the serene grounds of Mount Melleray Monastery, where participants received a blessing from a monk before embarking on their epic journey through the picturesque Knockmealdown Mountains.

The race, which followed St. Declan's Way, promised not only physical challenges but also breathtaking views as runners conquered each peak in the Knockmealdown range. It was a test of endurance, determination, and a deep appreciation for nature's grandeur.

In the fiercely competitive field, female runners showcased remarkable strength and tenacity. Ellen Vitting emerged as the victor, demonstrating her prowess and resilience over the demanding terrain. Deirdre O'Gorman and Sorcha Kearney claimed the second and third spots, respectively, highlighting the fierce competition among the top female athletes.

Among the male competitors, Cillian Fleming stood out as the ultimate champion, navigating the rugged course with exceptional skill and speed. Brian Mullins and Adam Groucott secured the second and third positions, showcasing their formidable abilities in this gruelling mountain ultra.

Knockmealdown Ultra
Credit: Matthew Branch

Credit for the success of the event goes to Race Director Robbie Williams and his dedicated team of volunteers. Their support, from manning checkpoints to providing much-needed encouragement and assistance with hydration, played a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and memorable experience for all participants.

As the Knockmealdown Mountain Ultra concluded, attention turned to the next challenge on the IMRA Munster calendar. Scheduled for Sunday, April 28th, the upcoming race at Gougane Barra promises another thrilling adventure for mountain running enthusiasts. As entries open online, anticipation builds for yet another opportunity to test limits, forge friendships, and revel in the beauty of Ireland's rugged landscapes.

The Knockmealdown Mountain Ultra has undoubtedly left a mark on participants, reminding them of the joy and fulfilment that comes from pushing boundaries amidst nature's awe-inspiring backdrop.

Featured Image: Taken by Matthew Branch

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