After a wild wet and windy opening event in Quest Kenmare the second round of the Continental National Adventure Race Series rolls in to Quest Glendalough….and hopefully the weather gods will be smiling down on us
In the women’s Expert, it’s round 2 head to head between Laura O’Driscoll and Ellen Vitting….hard to see anyone finishing in front of either of them. Ellen had the upper hand in Kenmare and is in superb form but Glendalough has proved a happy hunting ground for Laura and she won’t easily relinquish her crown from here last year. Plenty of running involved here and this will play in Laura’s favor also. Aine Mahony who picked up her third Gaelforce Dublin win 2 weeks ago should be well positioned to take the 3rd podium spot. Emer OLeary, Ann Horan, Rosy Temple, Denise Casey and Ger Kelly will no doubt be amongst the top finishers
In the men’s Expert, Mark Nolan is the man to beat after his win in Kenmare. Dessie Duffy will be hoping to get the better of him this time out after finishing second in those blustery conditions in Kenmare. Noelie Kavanagh is a strong contender and has placed second here 2 years ago and Luke McMullan is more than capable of mixing it up with these lads. After some bad luck in recent races Luke will be hoping things run smoothly for him on Saturday. We’re going with Mark or Noel for the win with Luke and Dessie battling it out for 3rd. There is fierce competition for top spots, the Expert course is a beast of a course, over 1000m of climbing on the bike sections and with 4 run sections you need to be strong on foot as well as bike. Pearse West, Mark Pinfield, Barry Cronin, David Power, Liam Aherne and Derrick Evans are all in with a shout of a top 5 finish.
The men’s Sport is as always a lottery…there’s 5-6 racers capable of winning it and it can come down to who feels better on the day or whoever things go just perfect for! Gary Lawlor is a man on a mission this year and a fine win in Kenmare will have his confidence sky high, Bernard Smyth will be looking to for another podium finish and after being pipped for 3rd here last year he no doubt has Saturday planned down to the last detail and will leave nothing out there on the course. Tactics will once again play a key part in this race, there is the likelihood is that the group will stay together until the last bike climb past Glenmalure golf club and then make a break, with the very tough start to the stage 4 trail run it would be good to have bit of a time cushion heading for the kayaks…..or someone just might make a break early and blow the race wide open! A very strong Cavan contingent is traveling and Niall Smith, Philip Smith, Anthony McGibney, Fergal MacDermott, Adrian Farrell and Kieran Cosgrave will all be fancying their chances…it really is impossible to call this one…but we’ll go for Niall, Gary and Kieran for top 3 with Bernard and Philip hoping one of those slip up.
In the women’s Sport Niamh Garvey will be hoping to get her second win in a row after a sprint finish in Kenmare but Jill Horan is the favorite to take the win here for the second year in a row. Martina Dunne will be hoping to do well and Laura Flynn may also feature in the top 5 but the ones to watch are Donna Mahon and Louise O’Reilly who should take the podium spots. Stage 2, the trek up Braigue, across to Cullentra and back to transition could be a key stage as the open section between the summits could be pretty mucky given the weather the past few days and valuable time could be gained, or lost here….our money is on Jill, Donna and Louise for the top 3 spots with Niamh and Martina close behind