Ricky Cowan’s top five hill runs

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Health | Running -

1. Car­raun­toohil (1,038m) is Ire­land’s high­est moun­tain and a must-do for any self-re­spect­ing moun­tain run­ner. The views from the top on a clear day are spec­tac­u­lar. A misty day turns the race into a real test, only to be con­tem­plated by the sea­soned moun­tain run­ner.

2&3. Mweel­rea (814m) and Croagh Patrick (764m) These two races, held in the first week­end in July as part of the Con­naught Cham­pi­onship, are on Ire­land’s west coast.

Mweel­rea, the high­est moun­tain on the west coast, starts from a beach. With no dis­cernible paths, it makes for in­ter­est­ing route choices.

Be­cause of Croagh Patrick’s re­li­gious sig­nif­i­cance, and with a church on the top, it’s prob­a­bly Ire­land’s most vis­ited moun­tain­top. This race has a strange but en­joy­able at­mos­phere, tak­ing first the pil­grim­age route to the top past the church and on to the next peak be­fore de­scend­ing at speed into the next val­ley.

4. The Slieve Donard (850m) race runs from the main street in New­cas­tle, Co Down, to the sum­mit of Slieve Donard (the high­est moun­tain in North­ern Ire­land) and back. This race has been run an­nu­ally for 73 years with a record time of 54 min­utes up and down.

5. The Seven Sevens race, which cov­ers the seven high­est moun­tain sum­mits over 700m in the Mourne Moun­tains, is 19 miles in length with over 9,000ft of climb­ing. Awe­some.

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