There is a new marathon on the calendar for 2018, the Western Greenway Marathon, and it could quite possibly be the most beautiful marathon route in Ireland.

Get yourself to Co Mayo on the 24 March 2018 for the inaugural Western Greenway Marathon. If you are thinking about doing your first marathon, this is the one to sign up for! Flat, off road and surrounded by a backdrop of stunning mountains and lakes, here are seven reasons why you should put the Western Greenway marathon on your list of challenges this year.

Western Greenway Marathon

1. It’s off-road

It takes place on the Great Western Greenway, one of the longest off-road walking and cycling trails in Ireland. Off-road being the key word here, the big detractor of a marathon experience are the roads. In this marathon, this is not a factor you won’t have to focus on cars but instead are free to immerse yourself in the nature surrounding you.

2. There is a choice of distances

There are three distances to choose from, so there is something to suit all abilities. The event introduces a half marathon, marathon (42.2km) and ultramarathon. The event is open for both individuals and relay teams.

Western Greenway Marathon
The Western Greenway – Image: Gardiner Mitchell

3. The scenery will blow your mind

The scenery is some of the best Ireland has to offer. With Newport been home to the magnificent 19th century red sandstone viaduct in a town which is the ancestral home of Princess Grace of Monaco. Mulranny, the former winner of the EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) award. And last but not least, Achill, an adventurer’s playground, home to dramatic cliffs, soaring mountains, remote lakes and secluded beaches. The World Class Great Western Greenway itself follows the route of the renowned Westport to Achill railway, which closed in 1937.

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4. The post-race goody bag is top notch

If you complete the race, then not only do you get the satisfaction of achieving such a feat, but you get an awesome goody bag too! The finisher’s prizes include a wicking finisher’s t-shirt, a unique finisher’s medal, and a race recovery pack.

Western Greenway Marathon

5. It’s reasonably priced

It’s not overpriced compared to some of the races around the country. Setting you back just €34 for the half marathon, €55 for the full and €65 for the ultra.

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6. It’s perfect for first timers

It is the perfect marathon for first timers because it is a flat route and completely traffic free and off road. You also don’t need a qualifying time to run and water will be provided at 10 locations along the route. Its early date (24 March 2018) is also just before the summer season kicks off, so it’s ideal to test yourself and see what shape you are in after the Christmas gorging and would be a great training event heading into the summer season.

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7. The location is ideal

It is set in the ideal location to pack the whole family in the car and make a weekend of it. No matter how many times we visit Achill, we will continue to be blown away by the beauty of Keem Bay, stand with our mouths hanging open in awe as we take in the stunning panorama laid out before us when we reach the top of Croaghaun (which, incidentally, are amongst the highest sea cliffs in Europe) and gorge ourselves on freshly caught seafood in one of the island’s cosy pubs. Achill is the place to visit this year and if you can squeeze in a half marathon, marathon or ultra while there, well that’s all the better isn’t it?!

Get yourself registered here for this soon to be iconic event. However, if marathons aren’t your thing but hardcore challenges are, Atlantic Series also run an epic long distance cycling event called the Emerald Isle 3100km and a hardcore adventure race called the Atlantic Series Challenge.

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