Testing their mettle on the Reeks

Ian O'Connell, after summiting Carrauntoohil.Photo: Valerie OSullivan
Ian O'Connell, after summiting Carrauntoohil.Photo: Valerie OSullivan
Irene Finnegan making her way up Ballaghasheen.

He-men and she-women tested their endurance to its very limits on the rugged terrain of Iveragh at the weekend, from the surface of the waters in Waterville to the heights of the country's highest mountains in the Reeks, as the second year of Quest 12/24 put it up to the top athletes.

250 endurance athletes from the US and Canada to Israel, Europe and home took part in the second year of the adventure event, with athletes facing the choice of a brisk 12-hour hop along 147km or the slightly longer 248km-race over 24 hours.

"We are absolutely thrilled with this years incredible event," Race Director Oliver Kirwan said. "The participants put in such a phenomenal effort, blood, sweat and tears - and that's no exaggeration! I want to thank the local community around the Ring of Kerry for their fantastic support. The feedback so far has been great and we look forward to growing the event in the years to come."

Valerie O'Sullivan's images capture the action perfectly as the individual athletes raced high into the reeks in an achievement scarcely credible by ordinary standards. Overall winner of the 24 hour, 248 km event was well known ultra athlete Matt Casey in a blistering time of 13:55:17, and he was joined on the podium by a range of equally impressive sports people.