Monday, September 14, 2015

Doing adventure races for the craic

Caitriona (centre) celebrates with fellow Killarney Adventure race finishers Edele and Chris 
Corkwoman Caitriona O' Malley is one of the new breed of adventure racers. Female, avoiding head-to-toe lyrca and fancy gadgets, she simply loves the buzz from competing. 

Adventures races usually include running (preferably up a mountain or at least a bog), biking (again with the hills) and kayaking (lakes, rivers or even the sea). They’re not for the faint-hearted but having done the road-race thing and international hikes for charities, Caitriona was ready for more adrenaline. 

We talked yesterday while striding along in a stiff breeze by Cork Harbour. 

She said: ‘I did a few half-marathons and by the last two I was sick of the training, I felt it was a big commitment and I got bored really. I felt I wasn’t training enough and feeling guilty from that and lots of negative thinking. 

‘When I did my first adventure race last year, I didn’t even own a bike. I borrowed my brother’s bike and hadn’t been in a kayak for about 10 years. I did it with two friends, it was brilliant, just such good craic*!

‘The variety physically, you’re chopping and changing so it felt you never get too tired.’

Married with two children and a full-time job Caitriona’s training fits in around all of that. 

She said: ‘I try to do two circuit sessions in a week at 06.30am, then a run and the bike different days. That would be anything from 5km to 10km, it depends on what else in going on!’ 

Bike bought now, she includes cycles to work on sunny days - not too many of them this summer. 

On yer bike for the Killarney Adenture race ... 
Her next race is the 2015 Killarney Adventure Race on October 3rd , doing the 27km Sport distance. This includes an 8km forest run (and steps known as Cardiac Steps!), 1.5km kayak and 11km on the bike. 

She said: ‘I’m not going for World Records. I’m fit enough to enjoy it and finish it, and that’s my aim. It’s just so satisfying to do something that isn’t about my family or work, and it’s reinforcing to feel fit and be strong. 

‘When I’m out there, there is just that buzz of being out in nature. It’s just amazing!’

(*craic for outside Ireland readers is a Gaelic word I find hard to translate; it covers fun, excitement, being with friends and laughter)  

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