The World Masters Mountain Championships were held in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, Ireland on Saturday 3rd September, comprising nearly 800 athletes representing some 28 nations.
Conditions could not have been in greater contrast to the last time we competed in this event in Puglia, Italy 2019, that day was blisteringly hot, this time conditions were ideal mild and overcast, rain and thunderstorms mercifully held until late in the day.
The race start was in Clonmel town climbing into the Comeragh Mountains in adjoining Co Waterford.
A quarter mile on the towns road before immediately heading up Roaring Spring Rd which punishingly climbs some 800ft in a mile with gradients at 23%. Heading out across the open mountain, the course then plunged down through Cannon Wood on trail and fire track some 1.5 miles, losing all that hard earned height smashing the thighs and quads. A very steep climb then ensued up the back of the wood on very narrow track, over dangerous gnarly roots searching out the tired aching limbs, under dark tree canopy. After regaining that 800ft we headed back across the open mountainside with a final climb to the top of Kilmacommon Hill, before a short decent to the finish at the Holy Cross high on the mountainside.
A course which certainly packed a punch and threw everything at you, which it should for a World Championship. Ian Fraser has continued to regain fine form during the course of the year after being able to execute a period of consistent hard training, and was rewarded with an excellent 22nd place finish in the M55 age group in 50mins 3secs. Saul Gallagher was able to back him up with a dependable 30th place finish in 53mins 21secs. Team GBR took team gold over home nation Ireland in the M55 age category by less than 4points.
Ian Fraser (top) and Saul Gallagher (bottom) in action below..