We checked in with Denys to see how his adventure race went, And this is what he said about his experience.
Thankfully Saturday is done and my body is starting to recover. It was an unbelievable experience on the day giving the relentless nature of the event and then the amazing scenery which looked even better with the glorious sunshine.
The race itself started at 7am from Berehaven Golf Club, the first leg being an 18km mountain run up by Princess Beara’s Grave on Maulin and back down by Hungry Hill to the Golf Club. The next section was an 82km cycle from the Golf club, up the Healy Pass and onto Garnish Pier via Inner Ardgroom. This was honestly the hardest cycle I have ever done due to the endless short descents with steep cut back inclines, where 1 minute your cruising at 40km and the next your struggling up a steep incline fighting through the pain & cramp.
At Transition 2, Garnish Pier, possibly one of the most beautiful places in Beara, we had a 12km trail run out along the stunning Crows Head, this was meant to be the easiest part of the race, but it was difficult to enjoy the scenery given the battle with the pain and the doubts building in the mind. After, getting back to Transition 2, a quick bite to eat before the 25km bike back to the Golf Club for the 1.5km kayak over to Bere Island.
For the kayak, I was lucky to get in with another experienced paddler, a fine tough lady from Wicklow, and we made light work of the paddle over. Once we landed on the beach, we threw off the BA’s and off she flew. I knew when I got up from the kayak that this was going to be no easy 10km trail run. I started up the trail and then started the climb up along the Beara Way to the Martello tower with the most magnificent 360 degree views. Down hill then and onto the road heading towards “the crosses”. On the way over at the junction there was a steward and before I even got a chance to ask she said “yes, that’s the way up” with an apologetic smile. Up the road 150m and over the stile to a monster of a climb up around the back of the crosses. There was approx 5km left at this stage after reaching the top, it was a battle to keep going, the heat, the pain, it was all adding up. On the way down with about 2.5km to go I came across a great character from the big of Allen. We continued down the road together and with about 1km to go we could hear loads of cheers and calling out our names. There was a pub with an outdoor terrace and as we passed we felt like absolute hero’s with all the cheering etc. It was exactly what was needed at that stage. Down we go to the beach, he paddle back with this race partner who we met at the bar, nicely refreshed he was after a creamy pint. I got in with a guy from Tyrone, both of us predicting the outcome of the Kerry V Tyrone match on the journey home, not knowing the result, but it was a great distraction. We rounded the last yellow buoy and somehow had the energy to race the kayak ahead of us straight to the beach with the cheers from the beach getting louder and louder. Crash landing on the beach, we took off sprinting to the last 100m to the finish line.
Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to finish in 11hrs and 54 mins. I didn’t know if I was more delighted to be finished with that time or just relieved to be finished.
It was an amazing day, an adventure race that I will never forget, given how hard it was but also how beautiful it was too at the same time.
So its a massive congratulations to Denys, He completed an inspirational feat! And a big shout out to all the supporter and people who have donated to our cause.
All funds raised for Active Connections by Denys will be used to support our New Trails, one to one Therapeutic service.
On the 28th of August Denys O'Brian will be competing in the Quest adventure race series - 12 Beara. This adventure race is not for the faith hearted, The quest adventure series details the arduous route;
"QUEST 12 BEARA – 28 AUGUST 2021
Quest 12 Beara is a new, one-day individual unsupported adventure race across the uncharted territory of the Beara Peninsula in West Cork. You will run across the Caha Mountains an
d the Beara way, cycle through the Healy Pass, along the Ring of Beara, and through the picturesque villages of Eyeries and Allihies. Kayak in Bantry Bay out to Bere Island and follow an ancient trail run around the island, before finishing on the shoreline of the famous fishing village of Castletownbere.
Total distance: 151.91km. Total Elevation: 3183m"
Denys has been an amazing supporter of the work of Active Connections and a friend of the charity. We are delighted to be one of the Charities he has picked to fundraise for, as part of the race. We want to put the proceeds of this fund raising effort towards specialized outdoor equipment to enable us to work with as many young people as we can.
Please support Denys by giving what you can,
"Denys, what you are doing is an inspiration and we wish you the very best of luck on the big day!"
We hope to catch up with Denys after the race to see how he got on.