This Saturday, September 24th, will see around 1,200 hardy souls take to the trails in the EcoTrail Wicklow evens. EcoTrail Wicklow orgsanisers have secured the support of Failte Ireland for this year’s edition of the popular trail running race, with the objective of growing the event into a weekend experience and attracting more overseas visitors.
Starting and finishing at Bray Seafront, EcoTrail offers four different races, ranging from 19k for the enthusiastic amateur to the 80k with 2,700 metres of climbing for the seasoned (some would say insane) athlete. Whichever route is taken, participants are guaranteed to pass through some of Wicklow’s most scenic locations.
Fred Verdier, Tourism Officer at Wicklow County Council, is an avid fan of trail running, as befits someone who grew up in the shadows of the Pyrenees in the south of France,
“We’re absolutely delighted to get Failte Ireland’s support and we have been busy planning for the event. You can avasil of activities such as a bus tour to Glendalough for overseas visitors on Friday, live broadcast of the race on a big screen on Bray seafront, a food fair with Wicklow Naturally on Sunday, and more,” he says.
Trail Running has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past decade, with many people of all ages engaging in this sport as a means to get in shape in the great outdoors. As a destination, Ireland - and especially Wicklow - is ideal for the sport, with an established network of trails, stunning scenery and an ideal climate year-round.
The concept of the EcoTrail was born in 2007 in the suburbs of Paris, where a group of trail running friends wanted to train in an environment that did not seem appropriate to running. Since the discipline was widely unknown in the city, the concept was to set eco-responsible values at the core of the event’s DNA and to raise awareness about the good practices. The idea became reality in Paris on March 16th, 2008.
The concept started expanding to other cities - Brussels, Oslo and Funchal in Portugal. Then came Madrid in 2016, Stockholm and Reykjavik in 2017, Florence and Geneva. In 2019, EcoTrail welcomed three new EcoTrail destinations - Wicklow, Chiang Mai in Thailand & Putrajaya in Malaysia.
The strength of this concept lies in its ability to mix trail running with the discovery of iconic locations, with an organisation relying strongly on local participants.
In the case of Wicklow, there is an entire programme of events and entertainment scheduled for the weekend. On Friday evening, there will be a Neon 3K Fun Run and Neon Sunset Skate on Bray seafront. You can roll into the sunset while listening to some tunes and there will be a DJ, face painters and a tutor on-site to teach the basics of how to skate.
Saturday is race day and the start of each race will be broadcast live on facebook and the finish on youtube, while mobile sauna service ‘Fad Saoil Saunas’ will be available if you fancy a sauna and a swim after the race (pre-booking recommended at https://wunderbook.ie/bookings).