HOW do you make a gruelling cross country run and cycle even tougher? Get your socks wet. Next Saturday, September 14 dozens of intrepid adventurers will take part in a unique West Limerick take on the triathlon called ‘The Knights Crusade’, which will combine long distance running and cycling with a foot race straight down a local river.
The event will add a tough twist to Newcastle West’s keenly-anticipated ‘Knights of WestFest’ music and entertainment festival.
Evan Egan, who is organising The Knights Crusade along with his friend and fellow endurance race veteran Mike Mulcahy, said that he hopes that the 1.2km run through the Dually river will become the race’s signature event.
“It’s kind of a novelty really. Adventure races always have three different elements. You’ve the run and the cycle, and then usually kayaking. Some of them have obstacle courses, which we weren’t interested in, and we didn’t have the right conditions for kayaking.
“We were thinking about it and thinking about it, and that’s when we came up with the river run. If you’re after running and cycling for ages, once the cold water hits you, you get your second wind.”
The race will be divided into two categories: a 66km route for seasoned athletes, and a 32km route for the slightly fainter-of-heart. Both races begin in Newcastle West with a 10km or 20km run along the Great Southern Trail, which will be followed by either a 20km cycle or 44km cycle, the longer of which will see competitors head through Knockaderry, Ballingarry and Kilmeedy. Both races finish with a 1.2km run through the Dually river, crossing the finish line in the Newcastle West Demesne.
Mr Egan said that he and Mr Mulcahy decided to organise the event while travelling home from a similar race in Killarney last year.
“We were chatting and said ‘wouldn’t it be great if there was one of these on your own doorstep?’. These adventure races are all on fairly far away - we’ve been to ones in Wicklow, Mitchelstown, Sligo. You’re usually not fit to drive home after them.”
The event is sponsored by local sports goods store Adrenalin Sports. Entrants can register up until this Saturday, September 7, and everyone who takes part will receive a goodie bag in advance of the event.
Mr Egan said that he hopes the different levels of competition will entice local entrants as well as endurance veterans. “With these races you have to cater for the seasoned campaigners, because they’re going to be the ones taking most of the places. But we wanted to have something to suit the local crowds too.”
For more information, visit www.theknightscrusade.com or call into Adrenalin Sports in Newcastle West.