Runner's World (UK)



Kieran Alger is beguiled by the Half on the Head in Co. Kerry, Ireland


ultramarat­hons are all the rage and half marathons are ten-a-penny, it might seem excessive to jump on a plane just to run 13.1 miles. But the Half on the Head – an uncut gem of a race hidden on the windswept, rugged southwest coast of Ireland – is the kind of destinatio­n run that’s as much a mini break as it is a race.

The Kerryhead Half Marathon – to give its other name – starts and finishes in Ballyheigu­e, a textbook sleepy Irish coastal village that looks out across choppy Atlantic waters and is part of the

Wild Atlantic Way tourist trail. Further south lies the spectacula­r Ring of Kerry coastline. This is a hugely popular destinatio­n for visitors to Ireland, so the not-for-profit Half on the Head was created in part to introduce people to this less well known part of the County Kerry coast.

It’s organised and staffed by the community and it also generates much-needed funds for local projects. From the race director to the marshals, no one is paid. Everyone involved is a volunteer – the race director’s wife even hands out the medals. The result is •

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