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What if You Decided to Run One Hundred Miles?


The Connemara 100 is best described as a monumental journey through some of Ireland’s most spectacular landscapes. 

Taking place in August each year, the event, created by Ultra Runner Ray O’Connor, requires participants to cover one hundred miles in a single effort within a 30-hour cut-off time. The requirement for crew support adds to the overall drama and also introduces a full team aspect as both participant and crew create a unique bond that is seldom replicated at any other event.

Just what does it take to complete one hundred miles in a single stage?

We ask the event creator Ray O’Connor who is an avid ultrarunner himself.
“It takes a certain mindset to complete this race, which is strange really. Initially, you’d expect me to talk about the miles and miles of training required for such a distance, but being mentally prepared when the going gets tough – and it will – is the single thing that makes the difference between success and failure. Sure, you have to put the miles in and prepare as you would any long distance event, but one hundred miles has an all-together different way to emphasise the word hurt. One hundred miles is not easy, not by a long way, but the distance coupled with the awe-inspiring landscape, seem to add a mystical power to the whole affair. Many past participants recall tales of hallucinations, fatigue so intense that they fall asleep running, out of body experiences, laughs and tears, but most of all they talk about the spirituality that this race delivers year in, year out.”

Why do they put themselves through this?

“Well”, explains Ray, “I think everything ultra is just extreme, and any extreme depends on a desire to bring the mind and body further than normal. In my world, it is ultra running, and we are looking for something that is very hard to pinpoint. Recently, while competing in the Marathon Des Sables Peru, I tried to explain my feelings to a journalist as we completed the last 5K of one of the stages together. The best I could come up with was, when I deprive myself of all the usual daily comforts, I desire them all the more. And the further I go beyond what is normal all senses seem to become more alert and it all becomes other-worldly (if that’s a word).”

But can anyone complete 100 miles on foot?

“Probably, yes, but within the 30-hour cut-off? Probably not just anyone. I really believe everyone should give it a go though. But without at least a couple of years of training and regular marathon running, I wouldn’t advise it. But no matter what the approach, that bubbling feeling at the finish line lasts longer than most running highs and at the end, it is well worth the effort.”

The Connemara 100 takes place in August 2018. As this is the 10th year of the event the organisers are expecting a bigger number of participants than usual, and to add to the experience, Ray has decided to participate himself and will be joined by many of his ultra-running buddies from across the globe. Places are limited so if you are thinking about it drop Ray an email, have a chat and start that story that begins with “What if…” [email protected]

Description of the course

The Connemara 100 on the West Coast of Ireland is run over a measured and certified course.

The course is simply fabulous, taking participants from Clifden through Letterfrack, Lettergesh, the Inagh Valley, Maam Cross, Leenane, Inagh Valley again, then on to Roundstone, Ballyconneely and back to Clifden to complete 100 miles.

Hi, I'm Ciara. I am a Digital Marketer and Event Co-ordinator with a keen interest in health and fitness. I also have a blog that I keep updated with articles on travel, food, fashion and so much more. Check it out or follow me on Instagram or Twitter via @sliceofciara.