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Before we get to the start line of this list of the Best Adventure Races to do in Ireland in 2023, this list is subject to change as the details of each event are updated/changed but we will try and keep the list as up-to-date as possible! Entries may be difficult to come by for some events due to transfers from previous years or smaller race capacities. We would encourage you to grab an entry if you are tempted as supply may be more limited than in previous years!
11 March 2023
One of the first adventure races of the season is a good one. Quest Kenmare is a one-day multi-sport race that includes kayaking, running and cycling around the stunning scenery of the southwest of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way. This race will bring you places, both mentally and physically, that you have never been before.
There are three distances at the Quest Kenmare adventure race that competitors can choose from:
1 April 2023
Quest Glendalough is a well-known race that involves running, cycling, and kayaking around the stunning Wicklow Mountains. The race starts and finishes in the iconic Glendalough Valley, in the shadow of the monastic round tower.
There are three distances at Quest Glendalough that competitors can choose from:
13 May 2023
The Wild Atlantic Adventure Race is one of Ireland’s top multi-sport races. This race attracts both serious competitors and those looking to experience the beauty of the Donegal coast. With event objectives of trying to get people involved in physical activity, as well as provide an early season boost for the local economy, WAAR is a race to have on the calendar!
There are 4 opinions for racers at WAAR:
10 June 2023
The Dingle Adventure Race (DAR) is a must-do for all those interested in adventure racing. The DAR, much like many other adventure races in Ireland offers a few different distances to tailor the experience for all levels of racers. The DAR Full is an epic 73km race that includes a 35km on-road cycle around lumpy Slea Head followed by an epic 15km run that takes in the epic Mt Brandon assent before jumping back on the bike for a quick 10km cycle to the final 2km kayak! It’s an awesome route, put together by a team that loves multi-sport racing.
The 3 distances available are:
17 June 2023
Gaelforce West is one of Ireland’s most iconic adventure races and is deserving of a spot on our list of top adventure races to do in 2023. Based in the stunning landscape around Ireland’s only fjord, Killary Fjord, this challenging course attracts seasoned racers as well as those seeking the coveted finisher’s medal.
This race has 6 unique stages:
8 July 2023
Race2Glory is a multi-sport adventure race that involves running and cycling! This year, the race will be taking place on 8 July in Kiltimagh, County Mayo. The race organisers have introduced a second shorter distance of 20km in addition to the very popular full race which is 40km in distance. The full and sprint distance Race To Glory races have three individual stages. More information on the route can be found on the kayathon.ie blog page!
The 2 distances that you can choose from are as follows:
July 2023* (Registration opening soon)
This is perhaps one of the most ideal courses for the first-time adventure racer. It is challenging and demanding, but the bike section is relatively flat, making it more accessible. This event is run in a very inclusive atmosphere and is based around the Lilliput adventure centre in Westmeath. The event allows racers to take full advantage of their facilities and the race entry fee includes not only a race T-shirt and goody bag, but also complimentary camping, showers, parking, and even in previous years free post-race massage! There are 3 race distances to choose from also:
9 September 2023
On the county boundary between Sligo and Tipperary sits the second largest lake in the country, Lough Derg. This is the stage for the Quest Lough Derg adventure race. There are three challenging routes for competitors to choose from, all of which take in some of the best trails the area has to offer.
7 October 2023
The excellent thing about Quest Killarney race is not only that it takes place in the stunning surroundings of Killarney, but also that there are many distances to choose from to ensure that your adventure will help you to reach the edge of your physical ability.
The routes were designed to be challenging and inspiring, and are a real test of endurance for any outdoor enthusiast. With the 83km Expert route, 73km Pro route, 55Km Sport route, 65km Dual route, and the 27km Challenge route to choose from, there is something for everyone. It even includes the Dual distance which has no kayak leg which is perfect for anyone that is nervous of the water.
There are three distances at the Quest Killarney adventure race that competitors can choose from:
One of the last adventure races in the season in Ireland is the iconic Westport Sea2Summit race. This event usually takes place in November, however, the 2023 date is to be confirmed. As the name suggests this race involves a lot of elevation gain, taking in the climb of Croagh Patrick from sea level! The Westport Sea2Summit has been run for 12 years and in that time has become a must-do event on the multi-sport calendar. The race includes a mix of road running, cycling, and mountain hiking/running. There are two race distances – the Sport course and the Sprint course – to suit a variety of levels. Each distance is further divided into; Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner waves.
The Team Donegal Oil Adventure race was held for the first time in 2022. This unique, women-only adventure challenge is a non-competitive introductory event that aims to introduce the incredible world of multi-sport to a new demographic. Multi-sport and adventure racing have grown hugely in popularity over the past few years, thanks to the amazing community at Adventure Racing Ireland as well as racing series’ like the Quest Adventure Series. However, this growth has been male-skewed. The Team Donegal Oil Adventure Challenge is trying to balance the scales a bit. On the first running of this event, it took place in the stunning setting around Gartan Adventure Centre. The course was a 4km run, a 20km bike, and a 1km kayak. We hope to see this back on the calendar in 2023. Keep an eye on the link below to stay up to date.
This race consists of:
Organized by RaceIreland, the Beyond Adventure Race is a new addition to the calendar. Its inaugural running took place in 2022 and we hope to see it back this coming season. Founded in 2021, RaceIreland is a unique events company that organises low environmental impact sporting events including endurance cycling, trail running, and adventure sports. Based in stunning Lough Eske, Co Donegal, which is an adventure hot-spot, the race is divided into 2 disciplines, the 4-hour Sprint and the 8-hour Endurance.
Jason Black: Summits of my life
Expect approximate total distances of:
Navigation – Signed.
Navigation – Intermediate level.
This no-kayak adventure race is perfect for those that prefer to stay on land, and with 3 different distances to choose from this is definitely one worth considering for your 2023 calendar!
26 August 2023 (registration opens in May)
The Knock ME Down Adventure Race will take place next summer on 26 August 2023. This Run-Bike-Kayak Adventure race takes place in the breathtaking Knockmealdown mountains in South Tipperary and West Waterford.
There are 2 race distances to choose from:
One of Ireland’s and possibly Europe’s most challenging adventure races, The Coast 2 Coast Multisport Challenge, returns for another year. This race will bring you from Enniscrone, Co Sligo, to Newcastle, Co Down. This epic 314.5km race across the island of Ireland is a special part of the adventure racing calendar. This is one of the biggest tests on the calendar of an adventure racer’s grit and ability to carry on.
2023 is your year! This is your sign to enter an adventure race this year! Many events are still reluctant to publish a date too far in advance due to the disruption of the past few years. We hope you found this list useful, if you see an * that means we are monitoring this information and if it changes we will update it so you always have the most up-to-date list of the best cycling events 2023!
By Matthew McConnell
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