Dave Hawcrofts Tollymore Experience

Posted by Ciaran Tobin on 18 November 2019

Yesterday (16/11) I did a race in the most spectacular area I’ve experienced in several decades – Tollymore Forest Park near Newcastle in the north. My race was a single lap half marathon (although there is a two lap full, and a three lap ultra if you have the cojones for it).

By my standards it was a hard race – lots of ups and downs, but hills rather than mountains or rock piles. All of it was on packed gravel or soil forest trails (but with stone and tree root trip hazards a plenty). However by packing in lots of hairpin bends the entire 21km circuit was entirely within the forest giving endless views of rivers, ancient pine trees and forest, plus sight of the outside of the Mournes (with a dusting of snow), and at one point the sea and Scotland. A nicer venue than Kilbroney and also I think Glendalough (if this is not heresy)

As with all 26 Extreme races it was well organised and marshalled, and very sociable – plus free beer, sandwich, buff and medal at the end. The site is excellent with hard car parking 200m from the start, a proper toilet block, a coffee stall and also chips and ice cream down the road in Castlewellan. Perhaps a long way to go but with it being a Saturday race you could have Sunday along the coast or in Carlingford, Newry or Belfast.

As you’ve gathered I am recommending it!!!

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