Into The Unknown

Usually when there is a race on the horizon, one of our motley crew has done it. Someone to tell us what to expect. But when a brand new race is announced, it gets the imagination going. What do we know about the area? How will the race break down? Will there be a big turnout. Way back in October, Quest announced a couple of new races. The Ultra Races Quest 12/24 in August and this one, Quest Kenmare. March’s usual offering Quest Killarney took the hit and in it’s place was Kenamre. Reasonable, considering you will have the opportunity to do Killarney in October anyway.
Recently speaking to one of the Mallow boys after Gaelforce Dublin about what’s is next on his calendar, he said “Kenmare”. With not even a breath drawn, I asked about the course, knowing that a few of the Mallow crew had recced the course or at least some of it. One bit of advice he uttered in his thick Cork accent,

“Save your batteries for the second cycle, t’is cruel boy”.

That kind of got me exciting and nervous, considering Gaelforce Dublin had just knocked lumps out of the pair of us on the cycle.
So what do we know? The race is in it’s first year. It sold out 2 months ago. And the second cycle on the long route is a %$£%.
We spoke to Quest Director Ollie Kirwan, to give us a little more info on it. So here goes.

Quest Kenmare is the newest event in the Quest Adventure Series and is shaping up to be an exciting adventure through hidden valleys, majestic waterfalls and tough climbs around Kenmare and the Beara Peninsula. The vibe and atmosphere of Kenmare makes it a perfect location for Quest. What’s even better is that it finishes right smack bang in the middle of the town. Kenmare is a foodie’s paradise and has plenty of good pubs in which to brag about your achievements late into the night.

The event is hotly anticipated and has been sold-out since January and for those lucky enough to get on the starting list it will not disappoint. Below is the low down on the routes, tips, advice and of course the best places to celebrate in after the event. The team at Quest has devised three cracking routes which are sure to be a stern test, early on in the season.

67km Expert Route

Starting at the Square in Kenmare town, the first cycle leg is 20km of which 14km is flat, good quality surface road with the last 6km consisting of rolling climbs up into Gleninchaquin Park on secondary road surface.

The bike drop is in the field just before the main car park and then it’s on to a 6km loop up around a stunning hidden waterfall. It’s a short climb that will get the lungs well opened-up.

After the mountain run it’s on to the bike again for the last cycle leg up through what locals call Dromuchty. When Quest were setting the course people who knew the area said ‘you’re not bringing them up there are you?’, to which they were told ‘Sure, it’s an adventure race, they’ll be grand’. It’s a tough cycle with approx. 1km of 17% incline. This is steeper than any of the other cycle routes on the Quest races. The road is rough with grass in the middle of the road there are and some hair pin bends to navigate on this steep ascent. Most likely about 90% of people will have to walk this section but it’s then on to a fast spin back to Kenmare for the final two legs.
Bike drop is just over the bridge in Kenmare and a short 600m run to the kayaks. The kayak section is from Kenmare pier in double sit-on-tops with back rests. It’s a short run around a little forest peninsula in Kenmare bay and back down Henry Street (the main street in Kenmare) to the finish line back in the square, to collect your medal and enjoy some hot food, hot tubs and a cold beer in the many pubs and restaurants in the centre of town.

• Flat pedals / cages with trail runners.
• To avoid the cut off times on the first cycle you need to be cycling at 20km per hour.
• You won’t be sent home if you miss the cut-off times you will just have to walk the last 2km section of the stage one cycle.
• If you are at the top end of the field that there is a small chance that you will be cycling against other cyclists for 1km on stage 3 cycle, please keep to the left-hand side of the road.
• Its going to be a fast course which is best suited to the cyclist.
• All roads are open to traffic but will be limited to local traffic only.

50km Sport Route

Stages 1,2,4,5 & 6 are the same as the Expert route. The only difference is the stage 3 cycle does not include the lovely 17% incline up Dromuchty.

29km Challenge Route

Starting at the Square in Kenmare town the first cycle leg is 10km out to Bonane Heritage Park.
This is on average quality, secondary roads with a couple of short hills.
The bike drop is in the car park of the Bonane Heritage Park and it’s a quick, steep start to the run around the park. You must complete 2 loops of the park passing by fairy forts, ring forts and ancient lunar stone arrangements that are older than the Pyramids in Egypt. It’s on a good gravel trail all the way around.
Back on the bike again for the last cycle leg back into Kenmare. Some fast-downhill sections on open roads. The kayak and final run is the same as the other two routes as is the finish in Kenmare.

• Flat pedals / cages with runners on the bike, no need for clip on cycling shoes
• Trail runners not essential but recommended.
• Watch out for the fairies in Bonane Heritage Park, don’t be caught there after dark.
• Take the back seat on the double sit on top kayaks if you want to sit back and enjoy the stunning back drop of Kenmare Bay!

We usually rate a course but as of yet this course has yet to be tested. We, along with 1300+ fellow competitors can’t wait to get stuck into this race. We are hoping for a classic event. One that in years to come, can proudly say, we were at the first ever running of it. Only time will tell, roll on the 10th March!
Keep an eye out for our post race preview on our blog where we will proudly be displaying one of these beauties below. The first of 6 Quest Races for the year.


You can find this Review and much more in the Spring Edition of Our Adventure Racing Magazine.
Click here to view/download it…for Free!!!!