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Ireland’s adventure racing champions honoured

The winners of the 2021 Continental Tyres National Adventure Race Series have been honoured, after a pandemic-enforced hiatus in 2020. The 12 prize winners in both the male and female series, including expert and sport categories, took part in five of Ireland’s most challenging adventure races to claim a podium finish in this year’s series.

Ellen Vitting (Kerry) won the 2021 Expert Women category, while Sebastien Giraud (Dublin) triumphed in the Expert Men category. In the Sport category, meanwhile, Niamh Cleary (Meath) won the women’s race, with John Mullin (Mayo) victorious in the men’s series.

The Continental Tyres National Adventure Race Series is a national multi-sport adventure racing competition (running/cycling/kayaking) that takes place in some of the most spectacular locations in the country. The series commenced in Kenmare, Co. Kerry and concluded in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow on October 30 and included races in all four provinces.

Expert men’s race winners, first place Sebastien Giraud, centre, second place Darren Quinn, left, and third place Johan Muller with Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres and Adventure Racing Ireland Series Co-Ordinator Padraig O’Connor, left, during the 2021 Continental Tyres National Adventure Race Series Awards at Johnstown House in Enfield, Meath. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

The popular adventure race series returned in September this year after being postponed due to the pandemic in 2020 and includes two competition categories (expert/sport) for female and male competitors.

This expert course is a longer race, requiring additional competitor endurance covering a long off-road and mountain trail run, a challenging cycle route and solo kayak. The sport category competitors take part in a shorter but noticeably faster and more intensive race on the same terrain as the expert course.

Speaking at the winner’s awards, Continental Tyres’ Ireland manager, Tom Dennigan, said: “It’s great to be back this year and celebrating the best of Ireland’s adventure racing athletes. It’s been a really challenging period for everyone who is passionate about outdoor events, and we are delighted to support the tough women and men who take part in the multi-sport challenge that is adventure racing.

“The running and cycling elements require premium grip to ensure ultimate safety on the roads. We’re experts in grip, from shoes and bike tyres with the likes of adidas, plus of course our premium car tyres rubber technology.”

Series highlights this year included a first visit to the FEAR event in Fermanagh, while the final event took place at the popular Quest in Glendalough where over 1200 adventure racing enthusiasts got to grips with the rugged Wicklow landscape.

Sport women’s race winners, first place Niamh Cleary, centre, second place Denise Molloy, left, and third place Eleanor Smyth with Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres and Adventure Racing Ireland Series Co-Ordinator Padraig O’Connor, left, during the 2021 Continental Tyres National Adventure Race Series Awards at Johnstown House in Enfield, Meath.

Paul Mahon, National Adventure Race Series founder & Adventure Racing Ireland coordinator commented: “Today is definitely a highlight in the calendar as we recognise our elite adventure racing athletes. We are delighted to have the continued support of Continental Tyres and it is a wonderful way to wrap up a big year for our sport and to acknowledge their individual efforts in claiming the national titles.

“As always, this year’s series was very tough, very demanding, and required huge drive and commitment, so our 12 prize winners can be proud of what they have achieved and provide an inspiration to the thousands that took part in the Series’ events each year.”

The top three winners in each category male and female (12 total) each received a mix of prizes for their efforts including a BestDrive by Continental car tyre voucher, a pair of premium Continental GP5000 road bike tyres and trail shoes with Continental’s rubber soles, ideal for more challenging trail running conditions from adidas footwear.

The full winners list is:

Expert Women
1st Ellen Vitting – Kerry
2nd Laura O’Driscoll – Louth
3rd Ger Kelly – Wexford

Expert Men
1st Sebastien Giraud – Dublin
2nd Darren Quinn – Mayo
3rd Johan Muller – Kilkenny

Sport Women
1st Niamh Cleary – Meath
2nd Denise Molloy – Meath
3rd Eleanor Smyth – Louth

Sport Men
1st John Mullin – Mayo
2nd Bernard Smyth – Meath
3rd Kevin McGuinness – Monaghan