Pic: Valerie O’Sullivan
This years annual 200KM non stop endurance race -The Kerry Way Ultra Marathon, saw over 70 athletes depart Killarney,from 14 Countries, enduring heavy downpours during nightfall, and glorious evening rainbows along the daunting 40 hour, non stop Ultra Marathon. The Race traverses the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Iveragh Peninsula, stretching along The Wild Atlantic Way, along ancient trails, old roads and coastal cliffs. It is Ireland’s longest distance trail.
The Marathon was won by Gavin Byrne in a time of 26 hours and 38 minutes. Killarney native Sean Clifford, who lead for much of the way came second in a remarkable close finish of just a 3 minute difference – 26 hours and 41 minutes. Another Killarney Native Joe O’Leary was joint third with Stephen Davis. Claire Morrissey won the Ladies title in a time of 37 hours and 55 minutes.
The second race known as The Kerry WayLite Marathon 50Km race departing from Sneem and continues along the Kerry Way Route, taking in Templenoe, Kenmare, the ‘Old Kenmare Road’, through Killarney National Park returning to Killarney. The race was won by Barry Drennan, in a time of 5 hours and 51 minutes. First Lady was Sarah Enright in 6 hours and 21 minutes.
Race Director Eileen Daly remarked “ I will never underestimate the determination of the runners, marshals, support crews volunteers, and kindness of The Kerry Way Landowners. My own back up team worked tirelessly over the weekend. Both marathons reached a phenomenal amount of viewers who engaged with our live tracking on our Facebook page”
All Competitors bring their own support crews who meet them at various junctions along the route, a huge welcome especially during the night watch. 14 countries worldwide were represented this year.
Eileen Added “ The Kerry Way Ultra Marathon is a non-profit ‘no trace race’, with the kind support of South Kerry Development Partnership, Torc Brewing Company, Portwest Outdoors, The Dromhall Hotel, Sheahan’s Centra. It has been awarded 4 points by the prestigious Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) which is a testament to the severity of the race.”
The Kerry Way Ultra 200KM
1. Gavin Byrne: 26:38:18
2. Sean Clifford: 26:41:38
3. Stephen Davis & Joe O’Leary: 28:57:04
1. Claire Morrissey: 37:55:20
Honourable Mentions retired due to injuries:
The Kerry Way UltraLite 50KM
1. Barry Drennan: 5:51:16
2. Barry Murray: 5:52:43
3: Cyril Stack: 6:06:41
1. Sarah Enright: 6:21:49
2. Sarah Brady: 6:29:53
3: Joanna Edwards: 6:54:28