The cream of Irish Adventure Racers and Athletes are set to descend on Westport this weekend, 12th & 13th November for the inaugural Westport Sea 2 Summit Adventure Race. The event, which is only in its first year, has attracted over 600 entries from all over Ireland and across the water.
Robbie Byrson a National hill climb and Irish road race cycling champion is the favourite to win Westport Sea 2 Summit. The former World Champion at mountain running, Robbie continues to hold the summit record ascent for Snowdonia, the highest mountain in Wales, a time he recorded back in 1985 will he set a new record on the Reek in 2010!
Others to challenge Robbie are Paul Mahon, winner of the Diamond Adventure Race in Letterfrack last August and 3rd in Gaelforce in 2009. Local athletes, Tom O Dowd, Colm Staunton and Noel Brady who were top 10 finishers in Gaelforce 2010 are also major contenders.
In the ladies, the top 3 finishers in Gaelforce 2010, Derval Devaney, Emma Donlon and Betty Walsh are the favourites along with well known local cyclist Mary Mulchrone.
Westport Sea 2 Summit is being organised by the Westport Plaza & Castlecourt Hotel Resort and the race will start from the hotel at 9am on Saturday 13th November. It will continue up Distillery Road on foot and onto the new Greenway as far as Westport Quay. At Roman Island, competitors will get on their bikes to Croagh Patrick Car Park where they will commence the ascent on foot to the top of the holy mountain. Returning to the car park, they will get on their bikes again for a 35 km cycle where they will take the main road for Louisburgh, turning left for Drummin at Harpers Hill and on to the steep climb of the Maum. After this, its all downhill back to the Quay for the obstacle course and returning to Westport via the Greenway and finishing at the Fairgreen overlooking the Mall River. The Supreme athletes will do all of the above, whereas the Spirit athletes will do the same first run and bike but the hike up Croagh Patrick only goes as far as the ridge (3k) and then descends to the car park leaving out the torches Cone. The Cycle home is also reduced to 8km.
There has been an enormous local interest in the race with approx 250 competitors from Mayo taking part. Athletes can be spotted on any given day in the last 6 weeks or so training on Croagh Patrick and the Maum.
The race will be finishing at the Fairgreen and there will be a great buzz around the Mall all morning with the first of the athletes arriving in from about 11.00am. It is hoped the spectators will be out in force to support their loved ones and friends along the route.
The event has been organized by the Westport Plaza & Castlecourt Hotel Resort and it will bring over 1,000 competitors and supporters to Westport on a normally quiet November weekend.
The race has received fantastic support from local groups including Mayo County Council, Westport Town Council, Mayo Civil defence, Garda Siochana, Murrisk Development, Mayo Mountain rescue and main sponsors Exposure Castlebar, Marrey Bikes Ballinrobe, Galway water and Kelloggs,. It is hoped Westport Sea 2 Summit will become an annual event on the adventure race calendar and will grow year on year.