RESULTS: EcoTrail International Virtual Challenge 2021

We haven’t had too many races to report on since March 2020. Last year our runners competed only 34 times whereas normally we have hundreds of results on the board.

So we are glad to report some members got a good run-out in the EcoTrail Wicklow International Challenge.

Donna and Aoife finished 2nd and

  1. Darren Woollard 1:33:11

3. Julie McNamee, Running Coach Ireland (ladies winner) 1:37:05


8. Donna Quinn 1:44:47 (2nd woman)

12. Aoife Joyce 1:51:49 (3rd woman)

18. Keith Mulvey 1:54:25

22. Paul Duffy 1:57:14

  • René Borg DNF

Provisional results


We generally train together 3 times per week: a faster run, a steady run, and a long run (mid-week an Sat/Sun).

It’s important to use the sessions in a way that suits your current fitness level, injury situation an experience.

Most of our sessions are designed to be flexible so that you can run them at a pace and a duration that fits you. So the onus is very much on the individual – you need to be a bit selfish and do the run in a way that is right for you.

The more people we have out on any given day, the more likely there is something who fits with exactly your pace.

How many of the group runs should I do?

It’s tempting to do them all especially if you prefer running with company. However, group runs can sometimes get more competitive than when you train alone or you can get ‘dragged in’ with faster runners pace. So it’s important to do only as much with the group as your overall training can support.

I generally recommend doing only 1 of the faster runs (mid-week an Saturday) if you are running 5 days or less per week. If you run 6 or 7 days per week you can do both. Those running 5 days or less who want to run with the group for both faster runs should adjust their effort.

How do I avoid injury?

There are many reasons people get injured. The greatest cause is previous injury history. But in terms of training the things to avoid is:

  • Changing your volume too fast
  • Changing the amount of fast work too fast
  • Adding too high volume of fast work too quickly
  • Adding too many hills to your runs too soon
  • Not doing enough easy running / running your easy runs too fast

In other words: any abrupt change puts you at high risk of injury. Steady she goes.

‘Easy’ running is your main instrument of protection against injury. It gives you a strong aerobic system and helps your build the resilience in muscles, bones and tendons that protect you when you run faster. The more easy running you do the more of the steady and hard work you can handle.

Keep in mind it takes 6-12 weeks for ‘easy’ training to have a protective effect. So during this period you must be extra careful. There no such thing as running too slow in the early days.

How much easy running should I do?

The general recommendation is 80/20 which means if you do 4 easy runs, you can do 1 faster. However, if one of the faster runs is ‘steady’ (not hard) it’s generally ok to do 4 easy runs, 1 steady an 1 harder. In terms of overall volume about 90% of the minutes you run should be ‘easy’ (in what is called zone 1 or zone 2 where breathing is very easy) and the remaining 10% of your weekly minutes should be steady or hard (zone 3, zone 4 and zone 5 type running where the breathing gets progressively more noticeable).

What sort of long run is appropriate for me on Sundays?

Our standard long runs are 15 to 16 km and take people 80-105 minutes to run generally. Long-term it’s good to aim for 2 hours as that is where the ‘magic happens’. A common mistake when building up is to ‘cram too much’ into the long run and not doing enough during the week. This then means that the long run becomes much too big a stressor for the body.

The ideal relationship is that your long run is about 20-25% of your weekly volume (30% at an absolute stretch). If you are already use to the 15-16 km (or longer) you obviously don’t need to reduce this as you are already used to it.

How do you shorten /lengthen the long runs?

Some people meet up a bit earlier than the main time (9 am) to do 20-30 minutes before the run. Slower runners will also often set off early so the group ‘catches’ them later.

How should I prepare for the hill runs?

Be sure you know the terrain an pick the appropriate footwear. For the rougher long runs over open ground bring a bag with a jacket, snack, and gloves and hat (especially in Winter) just as a contingency in the case you sprain an ankle or similar while far from the next road. Finally, have a look at the elevation for the run and ensure it’s not too far off what you can currently handle. Some of our hill runs have shorter versions where you can ‘skip out’ once you are done.

How do I make the best out of the speed sessions mid-week?

The key is to listen to your own internal effort and not be carried away by the pace of others. If you try to match a runner who is significantly faster than yourself then the workout will become much harder than intended for you. We always do 1 hour or 10 km minimum – so you need to be able to easily run this easy before attending these workouts.

 If you are injured or running quite low volume, this is a session to approach with care. If you really want to come out but cannot yet handle hard training simply jog along and watch the session – encourage the people doing the faster work!

Over the winter we focus on Fartlek, short sprints, and slow steady uphill work to try and build strength for the season ahead. If in doubt this is the session to miss.

In a hard workout you need to stop when YOU are done. Sometimes you will be ‘finished’ when there is still another repeat to go. Don’t struggle through the last one if you have nothing left or if your muscles are giving you trouble – just jog and wait for the rest of the group to finish.

The old saying goes: ‘Train to failure, train to fail’.

Always stop fast work if there is any sign of excessive hamstring tightness: especially sprint work!

How do I approach the Saturday sessions?

It depends on your fitness level. These runs are designed so that you can run them at any pace. If you are returning from injury or doing 5 runs or less then it is generally a good idea to do these runs at lower efforts (1/8, ¼ and ½ effort). If your overall volume is not yet very high, it’s a good idea to ‘ease in’ by running the shorter courses (you can always add more easy running as warmup or cooldown if the short course itself is a bit too short for you).

Once you can handle the courses at an easy to moderate pace without any issues then you can slowly increase the effort. This is particularly useful when you are getting close to races.

It’s not advised to do more than 4-5 weeks in a row of steady runs at 3/4 effort or above.

It’s very easy to get carried away and competitive in these events – again I advise you to BE SELFISH and do what is right for you.

How do I maximise my recovery after each run?

First of all look after yourself in general: keep mobile, get some quality sleep, and keep your eating relatively clean and stress low. But in terms of training the key is to do a decent warmup and at least 10 minutes easy running at the end of each workout. This will greatly improve your recovery for the run the next day. Hydrate well before and after as dehydrated tissues are very prone to injury. After long and hard sessions, eat most of your daily carbohydrates in the post-run meals. During this window you can eat food that are normally unhealthy: such a quick releasing sugars. This will make a big difference to how ‘alive’ your legs feel within 24 hours of the run.

Finally, listen to your body ahead of a workout. If you are excessively stiff then you need to ease carefully into faster runs. If that doesn’t make it better ‘can’ the session and just run easy or call it a day. Some days it just won’t happen the way it says on your plan. You are better off ‘checking out’ then rather than persisting.

You should NEVER run with a limp! If you have a limp – spend a few days mobilising and working on the sore muscles or get some hands-on therapy and then ease back with a few short easy jogs until your gait feels normal again.

How do I know the training is ‘right’ for me?

You can judge it by how you feel the day after. After easy runs you should be feeling pretty normal the next day – minimal soreness, tiredness and muscle stiffness. Steady runs should leave a bit of tiredness the next day but nothing major. After hard runs your legs can be heavy for 2 days ideally. If it drags into 3-4 days after then the session was run too hard. That means next time you need to take it a bit easier.

It’s about ‘training, not straining’ – you should shake off the negative effects of most runs within 24-48 hours. That will allow you to consistently build yourself up and it’s this consistency that will eventually build the results: not any of our individual runs in isolation.

REPORTS: IMRA Vir-2-al Relay Charity Race

With no races at the moment, we didn’t expect to be writing any reports until IMRA opened up their Virtual replacement for the traditional Killiney Hill Relay.

Rules allowed runners to pick any 2 km stretch within their 2 km radius and run on on Wednesday 15th. To record a result, runners simply had to record their activity and take a photo of themselves before, during or after.

This obviously meant some runners had the rub of the green and access to very fast net downhill courses. Club coach René Borg took full advantage by picking a 2 km drop from the forest line at Scarr mountain to the road in front of his houe at Drummin townland. For his effort he nearly snatched the ‘Pushing the legal limits of the Spirit of IMRA award AKA Downhill Run Only Award’ being awarded 2nd place. Rathfarnham’s Peter O’Farrell somehow contrived to find a faster and more downhill course.



  1. Team 8 22:50


35. Team 10 (Rene Borg, Glendalough AC) 29:11


Leg 1

  1. Rene Borg, Glendalough AC 6:03

full results

Lap of the Gap cancellation COVID-19 – Question and Answers

Please find below the important questions regarding Lap of the Gap 2020 cancellation due to COVID-19. If you cannot find the answer to your question below please email with the subject line ‘cancellation query’ or email us through our Facebook page.

Read the cancellation announcement here.

Questions and Answers

What happens to my entry now?

Your entry is automatically deferred to 2021 (if you do not contact us and inform us otherwise – see below).

I cannot make 2021’s event. What are my options?

You can either get a refund (see below), transfer your event to 2022, or sell your entry to a friend.

Can I get a refund?

Yes, considering the extraordinary situation, you can avail of a refund should you so choose. Please note transaction/processing fees are not refundable – only the entry fee paid.

To get your refund please email with the subject ‘refund’ – this is a dedicated account setup to handle the refunds for the event and the only one we will be monitoring for this.

Alternatively, we suggest you avail of the name change option to transfer your entry to a friend.

Will the money arrive back in my account?

No. At this time all money resides with Glendalough AC. As a club account, we cannot facilitate electronic transfer. You will instead receive a cheque in the post.

How long will it take to receive the refund?

We will try to process your request within 5 working days depending on volumes. As our volunteers cannot make regular travels to the post office to post cheques during this period, actual time from request to receiving the cheque can take 3-4 weeks.

How do I transfer my entry to a friend?

Simply email us at with the subject ‘name change’ adding your friend’s email on CC along with their full name, date of birth, gender, full address, and t-shirt size and we will update your entry to reflect your friend.

How long will it take to get my refund?

It depends on the demand we receive. As our permanent staff are all volunteers, it may take a few weeks to process refunds in case we receive many requests.

How do I defer my entry to 2021?

This happens automatically (see above). If you wish to defer, simply do nothing.

My ticket was transferred from 2019 to 2020. Do I qualify for a refund?

You must transfer to 2021 and are not entitled to a refund. Most transfers are refund requests beyond the normal deadline for refunds. As such the value of your ticket was voided in 2020 and you were given a free ticket to 2020 as an exception. If your transfer was done under special circumstances, you can contact us to discuss the details.

Can I leave my entry fee as a donation to you?

Yes, your entry fee in that case will go towards covering the losses we are deciding to absorb in 2020 for services already rendered to us by professionals, deposits and so on. Any surplus goes into the fund-raising money for the event dedicated to improving the trail network around Laragh and the athletic development in our valley.

How do I leave my fee as a donation?

You can inform us on that you do not wish a transfer to 2021 or refund or you can simply do nothing and make up your mind later.

Can I change my event for 2021?

Yes, we’ll announce a process for this in January 2022. Please note that if you upgrade from marathon to half-marathon there will be an upgrade fee. There will be no downgrade fee if you move from the full marathon to the half-marathon.

I bought a bus ticket. Is it refundable?

Yes, please ask for this along with the refund of your ticket to Note only the bus ticket price is refundable – not the transaction and processing fees.

I received a free ticket as part of a competition / reward for volunteering. Can I get the value refunded?

No, you must transfer your ticket to 2021 or sell it to a friend and request a name change from us.

Is registration open for 2021?

Yes, if you know someone who wants to register please find next year’s event details and registration here.

Lap of the Gap COVID-19 update

We are sad and disheartened to announce the Glendalough Lap of the Gap Marathon will not be taking place on 23rd of May as planned following concerns over our organisation’s ability to plan and execute a safe high-quality event – even if the current situation should be lifted in time for the event to legally go ahead.

We had looked forward to celebrating our 5th anniversary with you but feel this decision is in the best interest of our entrants, crew, suppliers, and public safety.

All entries will be deferred to the rescheduled 22nd of May 2021. Postponement to later in 2020 was sadly not an option as Athletics Ireland is not currently issuing new road race permits for the second half of the year. We feel it is not possible to continue to plan for this year’s event in such circumstances and will instead pull out all the stops for you to make 2021 our best event yet.

If you have any queries, please first review our new dedicated ‘Questions and Answers’ page. If you cannot find your answer email with the subject ‘other query’. Please don’t ask your question in the comments of our page as it may not be spotted by our volunteers.

Read the questions and answers here.

WEEKEND ROUND-UP: Shanganagh and the Hague

Our weekend report starts in Shanganagh where Barry O’Neill and Marcus Murphy were on the first ‘road trip’

In The Hague Richard Costelloe set a new personal best for the half-marathon running 1:30:15 and only narrowly missing out on the sub-90 minute barrier with some cramping.


  1. Dawit Wolde  Ethiopia 59:58


896. Richard Costelloe 1:30:15(PB)

Full results


  1. Derek Lawlor, Crusaders 17:32


13. Barry O’Neill 20:46

25. Marcus Murphy 22:48

Full results


Today’ result and final tally. 16 runners competed and 9 got the minimum 6 to score. The final round saw a three way battle between Aoife, Flora and Rene for the win and the Sportsroom voucher!

The final round of the Winter League took part on the Brockagh Woods course with runners trying to best their handicaps against the 5k and 9.1 km courses.

The situation

Aoife Joyce only had to better her current results by 21 seconds in order to make it impossible for either Flora McKnight or Rene Borg to catch her. It proved neck on neck as both Rene and Aoife had recorded the maximum score for the last 4 races in a row and would do so again at the fifth asking.

Having run 29:41 and thus running off a 30 minute handicap, Aoife obliterated her time with 25:28. This made Rene’s time academical but he got some consolation by lowering Barry O’Neill’s course record of 42:55 to 42:07 and taking the win on the day. Flora could not improve her handicap and dropped from 2nd to 3rd in the overall with Rene taking second. It all came down to 21 seconds after 12 races!

PositionNameStart timeFinish timeActual timeAverage PaceAvg / lapBehind winnerCourse run
1René Borg9:43 am10:25:07 am42:074:35 min/km10:32Long
2Aoife Joyce10:00 am10:25:28 am25:285:06 min/km12:440:21Short
3Marcus Murphy10:03 am10:29:08 am26:085:14 min/km13:044:01Short
4Colm Kenna10:03 am10:29:09 am26:095:14 min/km13:044:02Short
5Derek Cullen10:07 am10:30:46 am23:464:45 min/km11:535:39Short
6Barry O’Neill9:47 am10:30:58 am43:584:47 min/km11:005:51Long
7Flora McKnight10:03 am10:33:15 am30:156:03 min/km15:078:08Short
Round 12 – Brockagh Woods – standings

League summary

The league was evenly contested for much of it with several winners: Barry O’Neill and Bruce Phillips won one race each, Aoife, Flora and Colm took two each and Rene won 4.

#NameWins\RacesTOP 6AVGBehind
1Aoife Joyce265:48:030:58:010:00:00
2René Borg465:48:240:58:040:00:21
3Flora McKnight265:49:100:58:120:01:07
4Derek Cullen065:52:430:58:470:04:40
5Colm Kenna265:55:490:59:180:07:46
6Donna Quinn065:56:050:59:210:08:02
7Marcus Murphy065:56:580:59:300:08:55
8Bruce Phillips165:57:040:59:310:09:01
9Yvonne Brennan066:01:391:00:170:13:36
10Richard Kieran054:56:050:59:13 
11Barry O’Neill143:58:100:59:33 
12Catherine Devitt044:07:191:01:50 
13Aisling Kirwan022:02:041:01:02 
14Anne Marah011:00:281:00:28 
15Rachel Wisdom011:01:461:01:46 
16Michael Heatly011:01:491:01:49 
League 2019/20 – final standings

Notable achievements

This year’s league had four new course records: Donna Quinn and Aoife Joyce lowered the Roundwood 10k and 5k courses to 46:49 and 23:24 while Rene Borg lowered the long course times for Clara Vale and Brockagh Woods to 39:44 and 42:07.

People where adept at cracking their handicap breaking their times in 69 out of 106 attempts. Most of the 43 ‘failures’ – 15 – happened in the first two rounds as people were adjusting to their 2020 fitness levels!

League 2020/21

The league will return November 2020 but we will have other Saturday activities coming up for the rest of the year.

Next year’s league will feature and even tighter handicap system which should help keep the maximum number of people in contention for the longest period of time. We will also revisit bringing back the Pink Poulanass and Lower Lake Round courses to create a 16 round league.

WEEKEND ROUND-UP: Clara, Avondale, Enniscorthy

Last week’s National Masters cross-country marked the end of the cross-country season for most of our runners. But the action continues…


Our weekend running began at 9 am in Avondale where Angus Tyner finished 6th in the ParkRun in 22:12. Not long after the smallest crowd yet assembled for our penultimate Winter League race (perhaps the weather deterred?) on the crown jewel of the six courses in the league: Clara Vale.


  1. Cormac Conroy, Parnell AC 18:48


6. Angus Tyner 22:12

full results

Winter League

The League has come down to a three-way battle between Aoife Joyce, Flora McKnight and coahc René Borg. All would have to better their handicap by 2 minutes or more to have a chance to stay in contention. Flora duly lowered her 29 minute handicap to 27 min and Aoife took her 30 minute mark down to 26 min. René had to improve his handicap of 42 minutes for the longer course to 40 minutes to stay within reach and just about scraped it with 39:44 – lowering Barry O’Neill’s course-record by 10 seconds in the process. All now comes down to Brockagh Woods next weekend where Aoife starts the day as the heavy favourite – her fate is in her own hands.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, shoes, child and outdoor
Aoife at the Enniscorthy 10k. Photo: John Busher

Enniscorthy 10 km

Aoife returned to Enniscorthy for the first time in 12 years looking to improve on her 46 minute mark set in Inch in July. Storm Dennis meant this task was a bit more onerous than expected but she still came home in a chip time of 44:48. Mission accomplished.

  1. Ger Forde, Slaney Olympic 33:10


99. Aoife Joyce 44:48

full results

Brockagh Burst (belated)

We also spotted – a bit late – that Lillian Deegan ran Brockagh Burst where she finished 180th.

  1. Killian Mooney 27:14


180. Lillian Deegan 1:07:36

full results

REPORT: National Masters XC

The National Masters Cross-Country came to Avondale and four of our runners joined up underneath the banners of the broader Sli Cualann teams to compete. Two and one kilometer loops had been laid out with a start from Avondale House featuring several hills including ‘The Green Wave’ midway through the bigger two kilometer lap making it one of the hilliest cross-country courses in the country.

There was much success for Sli Cualann overall with several individual medals and team bronze for the Men’s Intermediate team. Glendalough AC could not contribute to this effort as we have no male members under 35!

Ladies race

Ladies Masters and Over-65 men

Donna Quinn, running her first national cross-country event, set off first with the Masters Ladies race over 4 km (two laps) and went on to have a strong run finishing 67th out of 206 and fifth of the 11 Sli Cualann ladies in action.

Men’s race

Sli Cualann Masters (O35-O65) men’s team

Our three male representatives raced in the men’s over-35 to 65 race over 7 km (three 2 km laps after a shorter 1 km warm-up lap). 258 set off in a regular stampede.

First Glendalough AC man was club coach René Borg representing Sli Cualann for the first time (having not run outside county level since his transfer from Crusaders AC in 2013) in 30:11. Angus and Anthony arrived within a minute with Angus in 30:28 and Anthony in 31:10. This was the case for much of the Sli Cualann team – Parnell’s Tony Collins arrived at the 30 minute mark with Jonathan O’Neill in 30:35 and MJ O’Neill in 30:41 making it six out of the total twenty Sli Cualann runners in the field within that 70 second time-span.

Angus’ run made him fourth scorer in the 2nd placed over-50ies team with Rene and Anthony 2nd and 3rd scorer for the Sli Cualann B team that finished 22nd out of 22 in the over-35s!!!

As the race contained three or more Glen AC runners, it will count in the Club Championship 2020.


Masters Women

  1. Teresa Doherty, Finn Valley 15:21


67. Donna Quinn 18:16 (5th Sli Cualann runner)

full results

Masters Men

  1. Brian Maher, Kilkenny City Harriers 23:43


157. René Borg 30:11 (13th Sli Cualann runner)

166. Angus Tyner 30:28 (14th Sli Cualann runner)

193. Anthony Breen 31:10 (17th Sli Cualann runner)

full results

Report: IMRA Powerscourt Ridge

The second last race of the 2019 IMRA racing calendar, Powerscourt Ridge was certainly also one of the toughest events of the Irish mountain running year.

Glendalough AC’s Barry O’Neill competed in very wet and windy conditions, finishing the 16km course in 1:43:41. The technical trails on this course included the summits of both Maulin and Djouce, combining for almost 700m of total climbs.


1.   Mark Stephens 1:16:26

35. Barry O’Neill 1:43:41