The iconic Art O’Neill Challenge run by Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue involves 30km of road running leaving Dublin Castle by night and then crossing open mountains, all self-navigated. The finish is set 60km later at the Glenmalure Lodge.
The 2022 edition was my first attempt, and I invite you to read my race report here. For anyone thinking about taking on this fantastic challenge, I have compiled a few tips that I hope will be of some help!
- Don’t freak out when you get the acceptance email – you got this!!
- It’s great to find someone you know who is doing it too and make a plan for training (this is the best part & great fun)
- Recce’s – recce’s are the key, your homework, your study!! Do them in the light first, do them in the dark, do them on your own and do them with others. You really can’t get enough recce’s done. It’s great to get a feel of the land & especially how it looks and feels in the dark. Ask for help, if someone you know has done it before ask for advice!
- From the recces – have your bearings, waypoints and any other key information that you need recorded and at hand and know how you are going to use it on the night. Don’t leave anything to chance.
- Get familiar with all your gear and know what you are going to carry to check point 1 – know if you are going to change your shoes / jacket / gloves etc. (most people wear road shoes to CP1 and change to trail shoes then). Have a back up headlight, compass and phone.
- Get familiar with your nutrition and how your body feels eating at night when you should be asleep. This can be difficult for some people.
- Training for this event is the most fun I’ve had in ages. The route is challenging but manageable. I would recommend driving or running the Dublin road part of the route prior to doing it. It really helped ease my nerves on the night and was good to have a sense of when the end of the road would be.
- It’s a great race and so well organised by Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue. If you are running it, don’t get caught up in the check points for too long – they can suck you in with all the goodies and the warm fires and the nice people!! Keep Moving….
More on the Art O’Neill Challenge here: https://www.artoneill.ie/