Quest Kenmare last weekend, for many, marked the start of new beginnings. A new dawn. Closing of a tiresome chapter that spluttered on and off for too long. It was 2 years and 1 week to the day, that the last Quest Kenmare was one before the country shut down due to the pandemic. Although there had been a handful of sporadically intervaled races between lock down windows, there was a general feeling of we are back, finally and there will be no more stops or postponements. We can finally knuckle down and get planning our race seasons. Start building back up race fitness and get the fire in our bellies lit again.

Quest Kenmare has historically been a baptism of fire each season and now in its 5th running, the weather was due to be typical Kenmare-esque…Cold, wet and windy… The kind of weather that blows the winter cobwebs right off and fortifies your resolve for the season ahead. A perfect storm if you will.

Over 1250 competitors ascended to Kenmare and you could feel the buzz around the town early on Friday. The meeting of of acquaintances, rivals and friendships renewed after a Covid enforced exile. Registrations, last minute kit purchases, dinner and a sneaky pint or 2 may have been had.

The Race itself started off dry with the odd scatter of droplets and a light wind which was huge relief. It was cold at the start but once we all pulled away in our respective waves, it didn’t take long to warm up.

At the top end of the table, it was very interesting to see the emergence of new talent to adventure racing, in both the men’s and woman’s categories, although Ellen Vitting held her place as top woman in the Expert race for the 5th race in a row. Will there be anyone next year to knock her off top spot? In the men’s Expert distance, renewed rivalries Niall Davis beating current National Expert Series Champ Sebastian Giraud. In the men’s sport, Paul O’Brien did likewise beating Bernard Smith. Niamh Cleary was back to her winning ways in the woman’s sport field with a convincing win. Sheldon Kirkwood recorded the fastest time in the men’s challenge route and only 6 seconds divided Aileen Crowley and Geraldine Breen in the women’s challenge.

Click here for full result listing

We would though, like to pay homage to those at the other end of the table. As the clock ticked on, while the faster guys were all dried off and changed, the weather began to take a turn and in came what had been forecasted, the driving rain, strong winds and the temperature drop. The effort and commitment shown by those caught in the crosswinds has to be commended. There were more silver foil blankets on display than you would see at Basecamp Everest. But they persevered and that’s the true adventure spirit. So well done each and every one of you. I’m sure the shaking hands and purple legs are savoring that finishers medal all the more now. We would also like to thank all on-course officials and stewards who were there till the end, encouraging and helping out.

For those lucky enough to hang around that night, they would have enjoyed the legendary party atmosphere that Kenmare can throw up. If you missed it, make sure to book an extra night in your B&B next year.

Next up, is a sold out Quest Glendalough on April 2nd. We can wait to get back it again!