Dubliner Ruairí Long and American Olivia Amber set impressive new course records to take victory at the ‘Seven Sisters Skyline’ WMRA World Cup event on Saturday in Donegal.
This year’s 30k and 55k races attracted a record entry with over 500 taking part in what was the fifth running of the race.
The 30k race got this year’s Mountain Running World Cup underway which will see 17 events take place across 10 countries.
The race started at the foot of Muckish. From the off the race was tightly contested with Long, Paddy O’Leary and Shaun Stewart to the fore.
On the women’s side Amber led from the start developing a lead on Kathryn Regan (USA) and Sarah Brady (Ireland).
The athletes then spent a lot of the race out of spectator’s view until they had crossed all seven sisters and were only 5k from the finish.
When they returned to view Long had built up a commanding lead on O’Leary who was comfortably in second. Shaun Stewart then appeared a few minutes later in third. That was how the race would finish with three Irish athletes on the podium. Long’s time of 3.29.59 was new course record.
Amber had continued to grow her lead on the Women’s side and was a convincing winner in 4.07.36, a new course record. O’Regan finished second while Brady was third.
Amber was delighted after the race describing it as unlike any race she had ever ran.
“The bog definitely got me a lot and I’ve never experienced any conditions like it. [While] I never figured it out, it was fun. It was an amazing experience and I’ve never done a race like it. It’s honestly one of my favourite races I’ve ever done.”
Long was also thrilled to claim victory.
“It went well we had a nice pack for the first 20k, me, Paddy, and Shaun. I just tried to run my own race, just kept my nutrition solid and kept getting gels into me. I was happy enough just to kind of pull away towards the last climb and then just tried to keep the lead for the last few k’s. It’s a beautiful course, really wild, I’d really recommend anyone to come and try it. Last summer I raced the Reeks Skyline in Kerry. I’d say the Reeks is generally a bit steeper, but this is such a wild and really beautiful part of the country, so delighted to be here and win.”
The Mountain Running World Cup continues in the weeks to come.