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08.05.10 Darlene's Challange
Well, after 3 months of training involving 355 miles on the bike, 99 miles walked and 50 hours in the gym I found myself in the beautiful setting of Leenane in Connemara with my husband Paul intent on taking on one of the biggest physical challenges on my life – the 31km Gaelforce Adventure Challenge.

We were all called to the start line to get ourselves prepared - the siren went and we were off across the bog.

The first half an hour was pretty easy going; however, as we turned a corner we were greeted with the “hill” we were due to climb.  I put ‘hill’ in inverted commas as this was no “hill” it was a full blown bloody mountain!

The first hundred metres or so were not too bad, but as we ascended over the first plateau, the full scale of the climb became apparent.

Determined not to be defeated, I continued up the “hill” one step at a time, and my word it was tough.  At some points it was so steep, I was actually on my hands and knees, holding onto tufts of grass to pull myself up.

Eventually, I could see the summit and I pushed harder until at last I was there    hoorah……what a climb and what challenge….but wait, I’ve only done 4km.  Another 27km to go!

Thankfully going down was a fair bit easier. I made it down to the bike transition area in one piece and with 16km on the bike ahead, I hoped that all of that training up Paddy’s Hill and The Grove was going to come in handy.

Text Box:  The first 8km of the cycle route was true mountain biking. Luckily, and unlike some competitors, we avoided any crashes and hit the open road at around 8km.  Things were going great until I suddenly felt I was riding across quicksand, I looked down and DISASTER, I had a rear puncture with only 2km of the cycle left.  Luckily, my support team (i.e. Paul) had it repaired quickly and I was soon entering the next transition area.

Text Box:  I then headed down to the kayak transition area.  Waiting for the kayak I thought to myself “How hard could 1km in a kayak be?” I was about to find out!

After a grueling 1.7km, I crawled up the fiord bank to start the last stage.  Only 6.5km to go.

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The start of the last stage was pretty easy going along the side of the Fiord towards Leenane.  On I went, climbing steadily towards the finish line.

Just when I thought I could take no more, I climbed the crest of a hill and there in the distance was the finish line - just 1km of soggy, squelchy peat bog to go!

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With renewed energy I headed off over the bog, determined not to let anyone pass me on the last leg. Then, after 4hrs 40mins and a lot of pain I crossed the finish line….HOORAH!

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After collecting our medals, Paul and I headed for the soup tent for a well earned snack and to rest our aching feet.  What a fantastic day and what an achievement, but more importantly it was all done in support of the Laura Brennan Charitable Trust and I am really pleased that the money raised will be going to such a fantastic charity.

4 hours and 40 mins later I was finished I felt fantastic, What a sense of achievement! I Burnt nearly 3000 calories and managed to raise over €600.00 for the Laura Brennan Charitable trust.  Looking forward to next year!!

Daughter to Nuala & Pat Brennan, sister to Anna and Shane, strong competitor and friend to countless people... read more about the beautiful girl that was
Laura Brennan >>