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No stopping Joe as he reaches third in the world

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney man who finished third in one of the world’s most-difficult adventure races has not ruled out another attempt in an effort to win it.

SLEEP: Joe O'Leary grabs a few minutes sleep in a forest hut during the 431km non-stop Spine Race in England last week.

The Spine Race is a non-stop 431km course over mountains and moors in the North of England.

Lissivigeen man Joe O’Leary was given one week to complete the gruelling course but managed to complete it in half that time in 96 hours and 50 minutes to finish third overall - or four days and 50 minutes!

He ran almost non-stop through ice, knee-deep snow and a wind-chill factor of -15.

He survived on a total of 90 minutes sleep taken at short intervals at various way-points along the route.

Joe is no stranger to adventure racing.

In September 2019 he ran for 28-hours straight to finish the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a 160km race in the French Alps.

This time last year he finished third in the shorter Montane Spine Challenger Race.

On that occasion he completed the 173kms course in 30 hours but this year he returned to compete in the harder 431km event where his competition included professional athletes.

CHALLENGE

Joe and his fellow competitors set off from the start in Edale in the heart of England’s Peak District at 8am on Sunday, January 14.

Nearly one hundred hours later, just before 9am on Thursday morning (January 15), he crossed the finish line in Kirk Yetholm, a small village just over the Scottish border.

Along the way he was obliged to visit certain way-points or time controls and here he was able to change into fresh clothes, eat a dinner (or two) and grab a few minutes sleep before re-joining the course.

Outside assistance is strictly forbidden, and apart from the official checkpoints there are a few ‘approved’ private houses along the way that offer hot drinks and small meals.

Even bringing supporters is frowned upon – if a fan cheers for one racer they must cheer for all the racers – otherwise it is seen as unfair.

“This was my first time doing the long race,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It was fantastic but totally unexpected to be on the podium. It was a strong field and first and second were pros…this is their job.”

Starting out in pouring rain the conditions soon turned to ice, snow and eventually waist-deep snow.

Volunteers fed competitors in scout halls or similar along the route and it was places like this Joe grabbed some shut eye – but not much.

“They really look after you. If you wanted two or three dinners to keep you going you could have them,” he said. “The problem is the clock does not stop. And the more time you spend at way points the more it will effect your results.”

Joe has no immediate plans but intends to visit Australia in May for a well earned holiday.

“I have entered a race in Sydney!” he added.

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Country Queen Cliona Hagan to play Sneem Hotel

Get ready for a glamorous evening of country music as bombshell Cliona Hagan, one of Ireland’s most beloved country music stars, takes the stage at Sneem Hotel on Saturday, May […]

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Get ready for a glamorous evening of country music as bombshell Cliona Hagan, one of Ireland’s most beloved country music stars, takes the stage at Sneem Hotel on Saturday, May 11, 9:00 PM.

Known for her powerful vocals, captivating stage presence, and chart-topping hits, Cliona Hagan promises to deliver a memorable performance that will have the audience on their feet and singing along all night long.
The concert, set against the stunning backdrop of Golden’s Cove at the Sneem Hotel, promises to be an unforgettable experience for country music fans of all ages. From heartfelt ballads to lively toe-tappers, Cliona Hagan’s versatile repertoire ensures there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Tickets for the concert are priced at €25 and can be purchased at the door on the night of the event. Don’t miss your chance to see Cliona Hagan live in concert at Sneem Hotel on May 11th. Overnight hotel stay packages including dinner and concert tickets, bed and breakfast are also available!
For more information, please visit www.sneemhotel.com or contact 064 667 5100.

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Coffee morning for Kerry Cancer Support Group at the Royal

Killarney Royal is hosting a Charity Coffee Morning on April 19, in aid of the Kerry Cancer Support Group. Join the team at Killarney Royal from 10.30am-12pm where fresh coffee, […]

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Killarney Royal is hosting a Charity Coffee Morning on April 19, in aid of the Kerry Cancer Support Group.

Join the team at Killarney Royal from 10.30am-12pm where fresh coffee, delicious homemade scones, pastries and treats await in the newly refurbished lobby and bar.

All guests attending will also have the chance to be entered into a raffle with a number of wonderful prizes on offer throughout the morning. Volunteers will also be on hand to accept donations, with all proceeds going to the Kerry Cancer Support Group.

“The Kerry Cancer Support Group work hard each day to provide an excellent service and are devoted to maintaining a warm, welcoming environment while ensuring that service users have immediate access to free programmes and resources. Killarney Royal are delighted to support this incredibly worthy charity,” said Brand Sales and Marketing Executive Aoibheann O’Leary.

All are welcome on the morning, with no pre-booking needed.

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