IRELAND’S newest outdoor challenge is inviting hikers, runners and revellers to Feel the Burren this October Bank Holiday weekend for a unique 10k challenge set in the wilderness of Clare’s national park.
Feel The Burren was set up in 2019 with the intention of running a challenge in each season. Disrupted by Covid, Feel The Burren returned in June of this year and after a successful event, organisers have opened up entries to their autumn event, the Samhain Challenge.
The Samhain Challenge is a 10k event which will see up to 200 people challenge themselves on the hills of the Burren.
“People can hike, run, jog, whatever they want to do. It’s not a race, the point is to get people into nature, breathing in the fresh air and taking a break from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life,” explains organiser Josephine Forde.
Starting off on Arthur’s Field in beautiful Burren grasslands, competitors run through ancient stone paddocks and fields, through hedgerows and along lines of Silver Birch trees. The first five kilometres are on the lowlands of the Burren on a working farm before competitors make their way up a hill where the reward is expansive views across Clare and parts of Galway. At the Summit, the runners must pass through the 20ft High Standing Dolmen where the Bell of Bouleevin must be rung at the Dolmen, signalling the hill has been climbed.
“The killer is getting up that hill, it’s an obstacle in itself but once you make it up there you ring the bell as a bit of a pat on the back for yourself. There you can stop and enjoy the view before you get going again.”
Markers will be in place for each completed kilometre and there will be water stations in place with stewards on course. Visitors are expected to visit from far and wide to Feel The Burren’s Samhain Challenge. “It is an experience for people and when they get to the end, there’s a lovely atmosphere and they get to enjoy the refreshments and catch up with the other people who participated.”
Despite the hill climb, Josephine says people of all fitness levels are welcome with participants ranging from all ages up to the 70s. “If you take it easy, take your time, you will make it up the hill and it’s well worth the trip.”
A percentage of the proceeds will go to the Burren Beo Trust with the event coinciding with the Burren Winterage Festival. All participants will be given a Feel The Burren T-shirt when they register. The Samhain Challenge begins at 12 noon on Saturday (October 29) at Mary and Frank McCormack’s farm. Participants must be 18+. Visit feeltheburren.ie to enter.