The Connemara 100 took place on Saturday (July 8) in brilliant weather. The hot conditions were an added factor in this supreme running challenge.

The course starts out from Clifden, then through Letterfrack, Lettergesh, the Inagh Valley, Maam Cross, Leenane, Inagh Valley again, on to Roundstone, Ballyconneely and back to Clifden to complete 100 miles. It’s a daunting challenge requiring the ability to dig deep physically, mentally and emotionally − and also conquer the undulating hills along the route.

Every runner had to have their own crew with them at all times to look after water, food etc as hydration and nutrition are key.
Last year there were 24 finishers within a timespan of 16hrs 40 (1st) and 28hrs 36.
Over 40 runners started out at Clifden at 6am on Saturday morning.
John Gordon from Castlebar was Mayo AC’s brave competitor today.

John and support crew at Lough Inagh

Clubmates Colette Tuohy, Ambrose Gaughan, and Brendan Murphy were John’s support crew and also joined him for a few miles at various points.

John had impressive form and success in 2019:
21st in the Connemara Ultra (63.5k) in April in 5hrs 39;
He finished 4th in the Portumna 100k in June in 9:48.35.
Won the O’Dubhda Challenge Marathon in Enniscrone in  2:59.33 three weeks before the Dublin Marathon where he was Mayo AC’s fourth finisher in 2:55.18. It was his first 100 miles.
Ambrose, Brendan, and Colette joined him at the Leaune side of the Inagh Valley and ran that leg to Roundstone where there was a check in point.  He still had 15 miles to run. His brother David and a friend Trevor ran /cycled some of the earlier part.
In that earlier part at the Lough Inagh check-in John was in 10th place, 48 minutes behind the race leader Alastair Higgins. At this point Higgins was 12 minutes ahead of Rex Brillantes who finished second last year in 16:54.
At the Leenane 55 mile check-in Higgins was through after 7:46hrs of running, averaging 8:28 per mile and a 25 minute lead.
John Gordon was through there with Pat Staunton (Westport AC) in joint 8th at 9hrs 35.
Higgins went on to finish in 14:56 – a brilliant effort averaging 8:57 per mile. Anne Jennings was first woman 5th overall in 17:48. Pat Staunton came home in 6th place 18:24.
John Gordon crossed the Clifden finish line in 8th – 19:14.34.  A fantastic achievement – huge congratulations John!
“Connemara looked its best yesterday as he ate up the miles” says Colette.
Well done to the Mayo AC crew Brendan, Ambrose and Colette for their excellent support.
Well done too to well known Sligo ultra runner Damian McSharry who finished in 22:47.
Anyone who has not competed at this level and out this beautiful Sunday morning on a long run, will struggle to understand the gruelling physical and psychological challenge involved and appreciate John’s amazing performance.