The Derryveagh Mountains in Co. Donegal will this weekend hold a race of the World Mountain Running Association World Cup for the first time.
The World Cup which is entering its 22nd year, will feature the fifth running of the Seven Sisters Skyline race this Saturday May 21st. It will be the Northernmost race in the 2022 WMRA Mountain Running World Cup.
The race takes place on a 30km route 2134m of total vertical climbing, runs along the top of all of the Seven Sisters from Muckish to Errigal.
While it is acknowledged that the route is demanding it is renowned for its natural beauty showcasing some of the best that Donegal has to offer.
Amongst the start list will be US based Wexford native Paddy O’Leary. O’Leary represented Ireland at the 2019 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships which were held in Argentina.
Other Irish athletes who are expected to be in the mix include Ruairí Long, Matthew McConnell, Enda Cloake, Shaun Stewart, Aiden McMooreland, Pearse West, and Luke McMullan.
In the Women’s race US athlete Olivia Amber is expected to be a strong contender for the podium. Amber was originally a Cross Country skier. She finished third in the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile in California last month.
Fellow US athlete Kathryn O’Regan who finished third in the 2019 Gaelforce Mountain Run 22 km in Leenane is also on the start list. Amongst the top Irish athletes is Sarah Brady who recently won the 24km Copper Skytrail in Wales.
The course records were both set in 2021 by Scotland’s by Ryan Stewart in 3:40:15 and Ireland’s Hannah Shields in 4:56:07.
Race director Eunan Quinn is looking forward to the race which he says is “different to anything else” in Ireland.
“Everyone who competes in the event tells us how tough, demanding, energy sapping the course is. The terrain is varied with a little tarmac, gravel path, loose scree, rocky terrain, lots of soft boggy terrain and steep hills. With very little defined tracks or trails on the route full concentration is needed at all times, and one hill leads to the next with little or no flatter sections on the route.”
Over 650 athletes are entered across the 30km and 55km events making it the biggest ever Mountain Running event ever held in the country.
This race is a ‘silver label’ event on the World Cup circuit with the ‘One Hundred Douro-Paiva’ in Cinfaes, Portugal following it on Saturday July 2nd.