The National Adventure Race Series rolls in to Quest Killarney this weekend and we have a look ahead to how we think things might go!
In the Expert category the ladies series looks to be wrapped up with Laura O’Driscoll on maximum points with 4 wins from 5 starts…the on form racer at the moment she will be tough to beat but local athlete Ellen Vitting will be looking to repeat her Quest Kenmare victory with another win on home soil, a win here for her would put her right back in contention and could make for an interesting finish to the series! Claire Morrissey could be a surprise contender for 3rd but you’d expect Deirdre O’Gorman, Rosy Temple and Ger Kelly to battle it out for the last podium spot.
The men’s series is far from settled yet but is very much a 2 horse race at the top. Shaun Stewart is leading at the moment but not traveling to the Kingdom this weekend so if on form Killian Heery can keep up the momentum that he has built up all summer then the gap will begin to close and we could have a showdown later in the series.
While it’s hard to see him being beaten, Killian won’t have it all his own way on Saturday and there’ll be a line of people nipping at his heels. Leading the chase looks to be Luke McMullan and Dessie Duffy while Cathal O Donnabhaiin, Pearse West and Barry Cronin will all be pushing for a top 5 slot with Colin Kelly, Fergal McDermott and Shane O’Neill hoping to impress also. A decent result for Shane Spellman will put him in overall 3rd place on the series with 2 races left after this weekend!
In the men’s Sport category its been all about the Smiths and Smyths with Niall, Philip and Bernard currently in top 3 series spots but Mallow man Matt Casey will be hoping to close the gap this weekend and with only 2 of the 3 Smiths/Smyths to deal with then he will be back in the hunt…looking like Niall, Matt and Bernard on the podium but expect Sheldon Kirkwood and Liam O’Donnell to put up a challenge also, it’s going to be a cracker of a race, could be the highlight of the day, any of the 5 of them could have a stormer!
In the ladies Sport category Marie Buicke is top of the table and has the distinction of being 1 of only 4 people to have scored points in all qualifying races this year but Sharon Martin should take over the top spot after the weekend as she has only 4 races done to date. A tough race to call this as there are a few more than capable of winning, but unlike the Cork footballers it seems the Cork adventure racers perform well in Kerry so gonna go with Regina Sheehan, fresh off her Achill win to top the pile with Sharon Martin and Emer Monaghan well in the hunt and will push her all the way. Laura Flynn could be the surprise package on this route and could well end up on the podium
.Outside of the National series events there will be plenty of other battles going on around Killarney and the National Park
The challenge route will be a very speedy affair with the 3 to watch in the men’s being PJ Fitzgerald, fresh from his exploits in the Scottish highlands Ring of Steall, last years winner David White will be looking to repeat the feat and Paul Martin who finished runner up in Achill this year is sure to feature…all 3 are on good form and should have a good battle for the top spots. Declan Bagnal and Diarmuid McCarthy should give them a chase if they haven’t been taking it easy since Quest12, it will be fast and furious!
In the ladies it’s a much more open race but Patricia Casey, Catherine McCarthy or Karen O’Mahoney should all be in with a shout.
The Pro route is fairly loaded with experienced racers, Michael Buckley and Shane Power are the likely front runners but Liam Aherne, Gary Lalor and Peter Gaffney will be wanting to leave their mark on the top spots while Marie Gorman, Sinead Tagney and Maria Flynn will likely share the top 3 spots…Sinead get the nod to finish first!
We’ll keep you up to date on all the standing after the race on Saturday but you can check out the current series tables over at: