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650 People Cycle Run and Kayak the Knockmealdowns

On Saturday August 26th, a mammoth crowd of almost 600 participants took to the hills and valleys of the Knockmealdown Mountain region to take part in the Knock ME Down Adventure Race.

This is a record number for the event, which has never topped 600 participants before. It has grown in popularity since its inception in 2016, when just 90 participants took part. The event, which took over the village of Newcastle for all of Saturday, started and finished at the local GAA Hall.

Those taking on the longer, 62km route, left Newcastle starting at 8.30am. This event, known as the MÓR, heads 15km by bicycle to a transition zone at Kilballyboy Wood outside Clogheen. Here, participants were taken on a challenging 2.5km run past Loughglenbridge, climbing on to Bay Lough. On arrival here, they got to give their legs a rest, but faced a lung and arm bursting half-kilometre of kayaking around the lake. This scenic sojourn was followed by a downhill stretch back to the bicycles at Kilballyboy Wood. From this point, rapidly tiring limbs were dragged on their bikes over the Vee for 21km and on to Mount Melleray Monastery, where a super-challenging 7.5km mixed route of Coillte tracks and forest paths awaited them. This glorious stretch of the course passed by the Holy Year Cross monument, although most participants will have been completely unaware of the wonderful sights around them.

Having finished in Melleray, MÓR participants again mounted their bikes and prepared for a painful ascent to the ‘County Bounds', on the border of Waterford and Tipperary. From here they had a gloriously steep descent for the rest of the 13km back into Newcastle.
The slightly less punitive event, a 32km Challenge, started via the same course until the return to Kilballyboy Wood Transition Zone. From here, Challenge participants cycled the 15km route back to Newcastle.
Photos for the event can be found on our Facebook page.

Congratulations to all the winners on the day:

  • 62km MÓR - SUPREME CHAMPIONS - Kealey Tideswell & Bernard Keane
  • Female Over 40 - Winner - Kealey Tideswell - 2:52:20, Runner Up - Geraldine Heery - 3:15:06, Third Place - Ger Kelly - 3:25:51
  • Male Over 40 - Winner - Bernard Keane - 2:52:54, Runner Up - Peter Walsh - 2:53:09, Third Place - Colm Crowley - 2:59:41
  • Female Under 40 - Winner - Clara Hogan - 3:15:02, Runner Up - Helena Walsh - 3:17:48, Third Place - Caroline Godard - 3:29:14
  • Male Under 40 - Winner - Carl Sweeney - 2:56:03, Runner Up - Diarmuid McNamara - 3:03:26, Third Place - Tadgh Moriarty - 3:03:46
  • 35km Challenge - SUPREME CHAMPIONS - Alison Donnelly & Conor Hennebry
  • Female Over 60- Winner - Siobhan O'Mahoney - 1:58:45, Runner Up - Olive Heffernan - 2:07:13, Third Place - Hilary Collins - 2:09:02
  • Male Over 60 - Winner - Patrick Walsh - 1:47:49, Runner Up - Eddie Liddy - 1:58:16, Third Place - Noel Heffernan - 1:58:45
  • Female 40 to 60 - Winner - Anne Kavanagh - 1:56:20, Runner Up - Brigid Coffey - 1:57:05, Third Place - Sinead Finn - 1:57:21.
  • Male 40 to 60 - Winner - Padraig O'Reilly - 1:33:11, Runner Up - Matthew Byrne - 1:37:24, Third Place - Padraig O'Connor - 1:38:07.
  • Female Under 40 - Winner - Alison Donnelly - 1:39:39, Runner Up - Claire Walsh - 1:40:04, Third Place - Sharon Martin - 1:40:04.
  • Male Under 40 - Winner - Conor Hennebry - 1:22:31, Runner Up - Brendan Murphy - 1:26:19, Third Place - Paul O'Neill - 1:33:07.

All participants returned to a fine selection of refreshments, consumed in a relaxed setting, at the recuperation zone behind the GAA Hall.

Organisers, volunteer group Knockmealdown Active, would like to thank everybody that took part for making this such a superb event. They would also like to thank the huge team of volunteers that come along every year to help make this event happen. This year there were over 120 marshals and stewards helping assist participants make it safely to the finish line. Without this wonderful community spirit, it would be impossible to run the event.

Booking for the 2024 event will open in May next year. You can register your interest by signing up for email updates at

Photos - Saoirse Stephens, Tony Hunt and Danny Scully