Scaling New Peaks: Miriam Maher on IMRA's Mountain Racing Community

March 06, 2024

Having spoken to people involved with IMRA around the country for the past couple of weeks, and learning more and more with each and every conversation, an opportunity arose which I could not refuse. Miriam Maher, the sitting President of the IMRA Executive Committee, provided insights into the growth and development of the Irish Mountain Running Association with Run Republic. 

With over 40 years in operation, IMRA has evolved from informal Leinster-based races to a nationwide phenomenon with 140-plus races organised across Ireland for this year alone.

The organisation's growth has been remarkable, expanding from its roots in Leinster to encompass races throughout Munster, Leinster, the Southeast, and the West. While Munster and Leinster boast well-established races, the developing areas are gradually gaining momentum, building both scale and size. Maher emphasises the challenge of managing race participation, as practical considerations such as permit-based land use and environmental impact necessitate careful planning to ensure sustainable growth. 

IMRA's primary focus lies in delivering mountain races. Maher highlights the organisation's commitment to providing an accessible platform for runners of all abilities, emphasising the inclusivity that sets IMRA apart. The majority of IMRA participants share a common love for mountain running, making it a welcoming community for individuals regardless of their running background.

Maher underscores the accessibility of IMRA races, making it an attractive option for individuals at every skill level. Whether a seasoned mountain runner or a newcomer to the sport, IMRA events provide a welcoming environment that encourages camaraderie and community. Unlike typical road events where interaction might be limited, IMRA fosters a sense of connection, with runners from the front to the back of the pack engaging in conversations and building a close-knit community.

Over the years, Maher transitioned from being Junior Development Officer in 2020 to eventually becoming the President in 2023. Drawing on her experience as a participant, committee member, and now President, Maher emphasised the importance of background work and collaboration within the committee to ensure the smooth functioning of IMRA.

Miriam Maher's interview sheds light on IMRA's journey, from its humble beginnings to a flourishing organisation promoting mountain running across Ireland. As IMRA continues to expand and develop, Maher's commitment to fostering inclusivity and community spirit remains at the forefront, ensuring that IMRA remains a trailblazer in the world of organised mountain racing

Featured Image: Tricia Twohig