The brand new Doomsday event got off to a fighting start on Saturday in Ashford, Co Wicklow, on a 10k cross-country course with scores of bespoke obstacles designed to challenge the strength, fitness and courage of some 150 competitors.
The field, which is tucked in beside Mount Usher Gardens in the heart of Ashford, was given a new lease of life, feeling like a movie set complete with special effects.
A team of 26 from Match Fit Fitness were keen to impress their coach and soccer pro Gary Dempsey (inset) as they ran, waded, climbed and crawled over 52 obstacles.
"The walls were a bit harder if you're small like me," said Eimile Barnaville from Glenealy, Co Wicklow, "but the training we do with Gary has really built up my strength and con-ditioning. It was so much fun, I loved it."
Gary recently returned to Ireland having played for Everton and in the Scottish Premier League for 12 years. He now plays for Bray Wanderers as well as teaching 30 fitness classes in the Wicklow area each week.
"They have become such a social group. Today we are doing this challenge and tonight is our Christmas night out," he said, promoting the values of training and having fun together.
Father and son team Seán Lynch senior and junior, builders and carpenters by trade, were the brains and brawn behind the project. "We wanted to keep it small this time and get things right so that we can grow it over time," said Seán Jr.
"There is huge support from family and friends and most of the construction work we were able to do ourselves," he said.
As there was no mass start, smaller waves were released at intervals throughout the morning, meaning that there were no hold-ups out around the course.
Full results are available on www.doomsday.ie