Marrey first Mayo man to win Gaelforce

November 8, 2018

The force was with me

Ballinrobe man Padraig Marrey beat off over 3,000 racers to win the Gaelforce adventure race last Saturday

Padraig Marrey

Gaelforce is the biggest adventure race in Europe. There are 10 or 12 adventure races in Ireland and the winners of them all were in Gaelforce. It was great to have them all down and try to compete against them.
This was my fourth year doing it. I came third the first year. In 2008 I was leading cycling in at Belclare when I got a puncture and got overtaken and I did poorly last year and finished fourth. This year it all came together but this was very close, very tough.
Anthony Murray from Carrowholly went out at a ferocious pace for the first 12k run. I decided to just try to keep pace with Peter O’Farrell from Dublin, who is the man to beat in these races because I knew he would be near the front at the end.
I was in eighth place going into the kayaks to cross Killary Harbour and I was fourth at the end of that. I caught up with O’Farrell coming into Drummin on the first cycling leg and I tried to get away from him but I had only 90 seconds on him starting the Reek.
O’Farrell and Tom O’Dowd from Castlebar passed me on the last section of the cone. I actually thought myself it was all over then. But I don’t know what it was but I just got mad when Tom O’Dowd passed me and I just said ‘f*** it, just go for it’. O’Farrell was a minute ahead at the top and I took most of that back on the descent. Every step you take on the way down could break your ankle or leg. I was in full flight and had a very good descent.
I caught him on the Skelp on the bike. I had opened up a bit of a gap but then was delayed for at least ten seconds because there was a gate closed at the bottom. I left it open for O’Farrell then! We made it to the Point at Westport Quay and there was then an 800m run to finish. Every metre he was catching me and he was probably within five seconds of me. I wouldn’t be a happy man though if that gate had cost me first place!
It was great to win it. I was crippled on Sunday though! I’m still very sore today (Monday) and I’d say everyone who did it is. It is definitely one of the tougher things that I have ever done. Adventure racing is the fastest growing sport in the country and Westport is perfectly suited to it. I think it needs to keep being built as an adventure town.

In conversation with Edwin McGreal

Adventure or endurance?
What 3,000 competitors did in Gaelforce 2010

Stage 1 – 12km beach, trail and road run
Stage 2 – 1.6km kayak across Killary Harbour
Stage 3 – 3.5km bog and road run
Stage 4 – 32.5km cycle
Stage 5 – 4.5km mountain run/hike
Stage 6 – 12.5km cycle
Stage 7 – 800m run to finish line

Gaelforce West Winners 2010
Padraig Marrey 03.36:51
Derval Devaney 04.15:52