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International Mountain Races 2008


Very busy months ahead for athletes The first international races in 2008 are Knockdhu in Northern Ireland and the World Long-distance race in England. Both races will be held on 26th April. Experienced and development men’s and women’s teams will be sent to Knockdhu which is a tough race with steep short climbs and descents on each lap. The World long-distance race has an open entry system and a sizeable Irish contingent has already entered. Entries are still available for non-UK athletes. The course is over a gruelling 38 km. and is only appropriate for experienced mountain runners.

On June 22nd, the World Youths Challenge will be held in Italy. Boys and girls teams (born in 1991-1992) will be selected for this race after the Irish schools championships on March 12th in Millstreet. This is an ideal opportunity for younger runners to acquire international experience before competing at junior level in subsequent years.

On June 28th, the European masters will be held in Switzerland. The five-yearly age groups are from 35 years and upwards with teams covering ten years age groups. The course is a tough uphill climb and will be suitable for strong climbers. It is hoped that strong teams from Ireland will compete.

On 12th July, the European championships will be held in Germany on an up and down 4 km. lap course. It looks as though it will be a fast race as the course looks unusually easy for a mountain race and provides an ideal opportunity for fast Irish runners to feature prominently in an official European Athletics championship. The trial will be held in Crone Wood on 21st June (a map and profile of the trial course are available on the IMRA website). The team will be selected on an All Ireland basis. Performances in the World Youths Challenge, which is being held on the same weekend as the trial, will also be taken into account for selection of the junior teams (born 1989-1992).

On July 26th, the annual Snowdon race will be held in Wales. Experienced and development men’s and women’s teams will be sent to this race. This is a tough race with a long five miles climb to the summit before racing back down again.

On 24th August, the Matterhornlauf will be held in Switzerland. A mixed team of up to six athletes may be sent. This race will be held a week after the trial for the World Trophy so the team would essentially consist of athletes who missed out on selection for this year’s World Trophy.

On September 6th, the World Masters will be held in the Czech Republic. Athletes aged 35 or older are eligible. Gold medals will be awarded to the winning team of three runners in the categories M/W 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60.

On 14th September, the World Trophy will be held in Switzerland on an uphill course. The trial to select the senior and junior teams (born 1989-1992) will be held on 17th August. A separate team from Northern Ireland will be selected by NIMRA.

On 12th October, the British and Irish under-age races are being held in Scotland (born 1990-1995). Separate trials will be held in September. Form during the year will also be taken into account.

Additional opportunities for high-standard international racing can be found in the seven World Mountain Running Association grand prix races. These races involve most of the routine of championship events but with less pressure (travelling abroad, unknown course, international field etc.). As such, they are a very useful stepping stone to competing in the European and World Trophy championship races, and would provide an ideal early season opportunity for top athletes to test their climbing ability. Details on them can be found on the events website pages at www.imra.ie

At domestic level, the Irish schools and university championships will be held in mid-March. The national inter-club championship will be held in conjunction with the trial for the Europeans in June. The national inter-county championships will be held in conjunction with the trial for the World Trophy in August. There are many other events including the provincial leagues series, and the very popular Wicklow Way relay in June