BALLINROBE man Padraig Marrey has won the national adventure race league.
The penultimate round was crucial for Marrey’s win, held in the beautiful grounds of Powerscourt in Wicklow, the third race promoted by the WAR organisers.
This race was one of the longest in the series, covering 72 kilometres, with four bike sections using the Sally Gap and djouce Mountains and two runs up the Sugar Loaf and Maulina Mountain, as well as a kayak section.
A win was the only result that would guarantee Marrey his position as overall league winner. With 10 rounds held all over the country and the who’s who of adventure racing on the start line for round nine.
Marrey’s chances looked slim, with Peter O’Farrell from dublin (winner of Gael Force in Westport), Noelie Kavanagh, Wicklow (winner of WAR 1) and Limerick’s Adrian Hennessy (winner in dingle) all on the start line.
And not forgetting world champion mountain biker niall davies and Irish international mountain runner James McFadden, who both have the attributes to upset the odds.
However, from the gun Marrey started out as he meant to finish, with a powerful attack up the first climb, and he dragged niall davies and James McFadden with him. The three built a lead to the first mountain run, where McFadden turned the screw, dropping Marrey and davies on the steep slopes of the Sugar Loaf.
On the second bike section Marrey used his cycling power to catch McFadden by the kayak section, where Marrey, not a known kayaker, powered ahead to open up a good lead.
With two biking sections and a mountain run to go, the Ballinrobe man needed at least three minutes if he was to hold of the strong mountain running of McFadden.
By the time Marrey got to the last mountain run (Maulina) of nine kilometres he had increased his lead to five minutes, and baring cramp or a bike mechanical the race win looked like being his.
At the finish in Powercourt, the Western Lakes man held on to win by two minutes from McFadden with Gael Force winner O’Farrell third at 11 minutes.
The national adventure race league was the icing on the cake for a season that included a Guinness world record on Croagh Patrick, qualification for the Half Iron man World Championships in Las Vegas and a podium place on all 10 adventure races entered in 2011. The Marrey Bikes Planet X sponsored man seems to be getting better with age.
Mary Mulchrone, Ballinrobe and of Western Lakes CC, also performed with distinction, having a great battle with Emma Donlon Roscommon who she beat two weeks earlier at the Achill Roar race. However, this time Mary had to settle for second, finishing 16th overall, and result that guaranteed her second place in the national league, capping a great year for her.