WHILE many see the August Bank Holiday weekend as an opportunity to kick back and relax, teams from 15 different countries, competed in a non-stop 72 hour endurance race, covering a distance of 450km which ended in Kilfinane on Sunday.
This year’s Adventure Racing European Championships, hosted by The Beast of Ballyhoura race, was one of the biggest expedition adventure races in the world this year.
The adventure race challenged mixed teams of four to complete a course including trekking, navigation, paddling and mountain biking over 72-hours of non-stop competition.
“It went off excellently,” commented Jim Flynn, supervisor with Ballyhoura Failte.
“They finished a lot quicker than they thought they would – they thought they had a very difficult course.”
Lots of people turned out in Kilfinane to cheer home the competitors as they crossed the finishing line in the square in Kilfinane on Sunday.
“There was a lot of people out and about to see them coming in. They were coming in during the night as well - during the dark hours. Some of them put down their heads before they moved on again. They take what they call power naps - they sleep back-to-back, four people, so they are all alert to each other, and then they head off again,” Mr Flynn explained.
The teams crossed the finishing line after a 12km trail run down from the Ballyhoura Bike Trails.
The race was started nine years ago to help promote the trails and began as a small local race so it was a fitting place to finish the AR European Championships. The winners, who had defended their European title were adidas TERREX (UK).
After the race, the Beast of Ballyhoura competitors returned to the race headquarters, the University of Limerick.
Most rode their bikes across to the sports pavilion restaurant for the prize giving ceremony.
It was an ideal venue after such a big race and the tables soon filled up while the burger and salad meal went down well after all the race and hill food of the past few days.