At 6am on the 7th of March 2015 67 competitors set out for the second running of The Race. 250 Kilometres and 24 hours later 41 competitors had completed the course.
Diane Beehan and Sean McFadden became the first Irish competitors to win The Race, finishing in 18:43:57 and 15:05:30 respectively. Several hours later our final finishers crossed the line after 23:58:58 with only 1 minute and 2 seconds of time remaining. These times and numbers, however, tell only a fraction of the story.
Amid driving rain and relentless, gusting winds, the course lived up to reputation of being one of the top ten toughest events on the planet. The horrendous weather conditions made life torturous across the field, whether battling for the podium or against the desire to quit, the competitors’ performance was staggering. This determination was epitomised by each competitor who mounted their bikes for a second time and embarked upon the final two stages.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the conditions supporters turned out throughout the course to cheer on competitors. There is something unique to Donegal when it comes to getting behind athletes. They have a hard earned appreciation of the weather conditions that competitors are going through and an understanding of the mental effect these conditions can have.
The course, the weather, Donegal and the supporters all played key roles, however, the story of The Race 2015 is best told by its’ protagonists…
The Race touches both extremes. It was the toughest but also one of the best weekends I've ever had. The people I met were amazing and I felt privileged to even stand at the start line - Emma Kerr, Competitor 2015
The Race provided me with a challenge like nothing I have a gone through before. Getting to the start line was Hard, getting to the finish line was the toughest mental challenge I have encountered. It does what it says on the tin. Medal Worn with Extreme pride - Ruaidhri Stewart Competitor 2015
When I finished the race, I was broken, you guys put me through hell, the weather and the terrain made this a far tougher challenge than I had imagined. But I felt privileged to be competing among such astoundingly strong people, in such a stunning place. I recommend it, but only to the brave, the foolhardy, and the extremely fit! - Kate Kelly, Competitor 2015