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Are you looking for a new challenge in 2022? Why not consider taking on an adventure race?!
Adventure races are an excellent way to get outside and challenge yourself. We have compiled a list of 18 of the best Adventure Races to do in Ireland in 2022. There is something for everyone in this article from the die-hard ultra-endurance nut to the unsure first-timer.
Adventure racing (sometimes also called multi-sport racing) is a multi-discipline race that usually consists of trail running/hiking, cycling, and kayaking. Adventure racing however can consist of any outdoor sport! Most, but not all, of the races in Ireland have set courses so you know what you’re getting yourself into prior to entering.
Before we get to the start line of this list of the 18 best Adventure Races to do in Ireland in 2022, this list is subject to change as per restrictions at the time 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!
Various dates in 2022
If you have completed a multi-sport in the past or are looking for a unique challenge in 2022 we think you would love the new Team Adventure Series. The series has two separate categories: Sprint and the Endurance. These races require some navigational skills and are completed in a team of two. The series includes four races beginning with the Kinsale Adventure Challenge on 5 March. Adventure Racing Ireland has all the information you need on their website if you are tempted to give a team adventure race a go in 2022.
12 March 2022
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 south west 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:
Challenge 28km – This distance includes 6 unique stages. With a total of 6km running, 21km cycling, and 1km kayaking.
Sport 43km – This distance includes 6 unique stages. With a total of 10km running, 32km cycling, and 1km kayaking.
Expert 78km – This distance includes 8 unique stages. With a total of 18km running, 59km cycling, and 1km kayaking.
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:
23 April 2022
Most of the adventure races on this list include at least a kilometer of kayaking. If you are on the hunt for an adventure race with no kayaking, The Wall Adventure Race could be for you! In the heart of the Mourne Mountains, competitors will run and cycle their way around this epic, technical and beautiful 63km course. Additionally, all routes are fully waymarked so no navigational skills are required to complete this course! There are three unique stages in this race. A 3km trail run followed by a 45km road cycle taking in the Meelmore, Spelga, and Attical mountains before completing the race with a 15km mixed terrain run to the finish!
Coast to Coast is an extreme distance adventure race that traverses the country from Enniscrone in Co Sligo to Newcastle in Co Down. This race is not for the faint-hearted as it demands competitors cover a total of 315.5km by foot, bike, and kayak! More details can be found about the logistics of this race on their website!
28 May 2022
Formerly known as “Shore 2 Summit” Tuff-Inish is a new race on the scene for 2022! Taking place on the island of Inishowen off the coast of Donegal, this race offers “everything that an adventure race possibly can.” There are 4 diverse racecourses to choose from to include the complete novice to the elite racer! Each distance takes place on the stunning Wild Atlantic Way and competitors will get to experience some of the best views in the country of the Atlantic Ocean.
All 4 courses have 6 stages and the distance of the disciplines are as follows:
Sprint 26km – 9km of running/hiking, 16km of cycling, and 1km kayaking.
Rebel 41km – 12km of running/hiking, 27.5km of cycling, and 1.5km kayaking.
Extreme 62km – 20km of running/hiking, 40km of cycling, and 1.5km kayaking.
Titan 105km/10 hour – 33.5km of running/hiking, 67km of cycling, and 4.5km kayaking.
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 the “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 multisport racing.
The other two distances are:
DAR Sport: This distance consists of 6 stages. With a total of 32km of cycling, 10km of running, and 1km of kayaking.
DAR Mini: This distance also consists of 6 stages. With a total of 6.5km of running, 13km of cycling, and 1km of kayaking
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 2022. 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, all presenting their own challenges! Information about each individual stage can be found on the event page. The race covers 60km and is split into; 24.5km of running, 35km of cycling, and a “short” 1km kayak on the beautiful Killary Fjord.
9 July 2022
Race2Glory is a multi-sport adventure race that involves running and cycling! This year the race will be taking place on the 9th of July in Kiltimagh County Mayo. The race organizers have introduced a second shorter distance of 20 km in addition to the very popular full race which is 40 km 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!
Full Course – This distance includes 17km of running on varied terrain and 23km of cycling!
Sprint Course – This distance includes an even split of 10km of running and 10km of cycling
16 July 2022
This is perhaps one of the most ideal courses for the first time adventure racer. It is challenging and demanding however 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 center 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 as well as a 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:
Mini 25km – This distance includes 1.5 km of kayaking, 2.5 km of running, and 21 km of cycling.
Sport 45km – This distance includes 5km of running, 38km of cycling, 2km of kayaking.
Ultra 65km – This Distance includes 2 km of kayaking, 53 km of cycling, and 10 km of running.
23 July 2022
It is no surprise that Gaelforce Connemara is a favourite of the adventure racing community in Ireland. A “short” 32km blast around the Inagh Valley, Maamturk Mountains, and Ireland’s only fjord, Killary. This is one to put on the calendar. The race is a 3 stage, run (12.5km), cycle (19km), and kayak (1km) course that takes in sealed roads, forest tracks, bogland, and open water.
This is one of the original Gaelforce adventure races and is always a favourite.
If you fancy pushing the boat out as far as time. quest 12 Beara is a brilliant place to start. The course of this 12-hour adventure race goes all around the stunning Beara Peninsula. This individual unsupported adventure race takes in some stunning scenery around West Cork. You run across the Caha Mountains and the Beara Way, cycle through Healy Pass and along the Ring of Beara. The race also takes a kayak in Bantry Bay out to Bare Island and finishes on the shoreline of the famous visitor fishing village of Castletownbere. If you have done a shorter adventure race in the past, this event is a splendid introduction to the world of longer adventure races. Upon completion of the Quest 12, Beara something like the coast-to-coast race may not seem so crazy!
This race consists of 7 unique stages and covers a total distance of 151.91km with a total elevation gain of 3183m. Not for the faint-hearted! More information on each stage can be found on their route info page.
10 September 2022
It goes down on Lough Derg! 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.
Challenge 22km – This distance has 5 unique stages, with a total of 7km running, 14km cycling and 1km kayaking.
Sport 57km – This distance offers 9 unique stages, with a total of 14.1km running, 41.5km cycling and 1km kayaking
Expert 69km – This distance offers 9 unique stages, with a total of 20.1km running, 47.5km cycling and 1 km kayaking.
24 September 2022
Face your FEAR! FEARmanagh is a multi-sport adventure race that takes in Fermanagh’s rugged and wild terrain. This unique race offers two different distances, both of which offer their own challenges! The noteworthy aspect of both of these distances is that they both involve many different stages, so competitors are constantly changing disciplines! You can compete in this race as an individual or as a team of 4. The team Competition will be won by the team with the best combined time (best three times used).
Short Route 35km – This distance includes 7 unique stages, with total distances of 6.9km of running 27.2km of cycling and 1km of kayaking.
Long Route 74km – This distance includes 9 unique stages, with total distances of 13km of running 56km of cycling and 2km of kayaking.
8 October 2022
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 as a real test of endurance for any outdoor enthusiast. With the 83km Expert route, 73km Pro route, 55Km Sports route, 65km Dual route and the 27km Challenge route to choose from It even includes the dual distance which has no kayak leg.
We have included links to the route maps below to help you decide which distance to tackle in 2022!
27KM CHALLENGE MAP
This distance consists of 3 stages. With a total of: 9.2km running, 16.8 cycling, 1.0km kayaking
55KM SPORT MAP
This distance consists of 5 stages. With a total of: 9.8km running, 44.5km cycling, 1.0km kayaking.
65KM DUAL MAP
This distance consists of 2 stages. With a total of: 9km run, 56km cycling.
73KM PRO MAP
This distance consists of 7 stages: 16.3km running, 56km cycling, 1.0km kayak
83KM EXPERT MAP
This distance consists of 3 stages: 26.1km running, 56km bike, 1.0km kayak
Date to be announced (October 2022)
Why not round out a great season of racing at the Skibbereen Charity Adventure Race! This splendid event is run by 2,000 marshals and volunteers to ensure that 100% of the entry fees go to charities and community organizations. Keep an eye on the SCAR Facebook page to stay up to date on details for the 2022 iteration of this amazing community led race!
Registration Opens Soon
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 2022 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 “Supreme” course, and the “Sprint” course to suit a variety of levels. Each distance is further divided into; Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner waves.
Sprint 30km – This distance includes 5 unique stages, with a total distance of 11km of running and 19km of cycling.
Supreme 56km – This distance includes 5 unique stages, with a total distance of 13km of running and 43km of cycling.
We hope that this list was useful and that 2022 is a Year full of Adventures and racing for you! If you do enter any of these races please tag us in your training and racing posts on social media, @outsider.ie, we would love to see your journey!
By Matthew McConnell
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