Around the Iveragh Peninsula of Ireland – Kerry Way Ultra light 2018

„Translate automaticly with chrome-translator“  Not the best, but …

Finally it was up. The time I was allowed to take this year for the Kerry Way on the Ivaragh peninsula. Contrary to the original plan to completely circle the island around, the so-called Kerry Way Ultra , my body after the intensive mountain training around Brixen completely different opinion. The respiratory system failed again completely the service. Already known from last year, when it took 10 weeks after my 2nd UTMB attempt , until I could run cough-free again. It was similar in this year. At 200 kilometers walk was also 4 weeks after the family summer vacation not to think, you want to be reasonable. So an alternative had to come.

At the end of August I switched to the light distance of the island tour. Almost 60 kilometers should be somehow feasible despite lung from the neck. Too much reason is then no solution. Because they want to have gone too. To make things easier, I put the remaining stages of the Kerry Way back on my back with my 17 kg extra weight to be on the starting line punctually on Saturday. A small compilation of my hiking week is here

Saturday, 8th of September: Shortly after half past eight I started from the Coomassig Lodge for the start in Sneem, which was only 10 minutes away (with 17 kg on my  back). Thank you Maureen for the fabulous breakfast, the best of my whole Kerry-Way round, for the hour so early on. It was kööööstlich. Best breakfast, Best B & B, but rained all time. That’s it.

Hiking on the Kerryway stages 1 – 7

Arrived in Sneem the checkpoint was not to be overlooked. Nevertheless, I sank past once to return to the sighted pavilion at the end of the village. Warm up completed! I was the first guest. Check-in from 7:00 to 8:00. Shortly before eight, two more runners joined in the cozy little office in the place, barely larger than our housing estate. But I already knew that from the past days around the peninsula. Half past eight it was full, 46 starters were it at the end of the census, as the bus from Killarney, the destination of Ultras and the Lightultras arrived at the starting point.

Just in time for the start of the rain, I switched from the windproof jacket on the coarse variant … 20000 Schmerbel can not penetrate even the strongest rain. Short briefing. The most important information: The paths are very wet. What this means in the mire areas of Ireland, I should still learn. It did not really matter to me. I was really happy to finally be able to walk again, to carry my backpack after 5 days and not to run. The knees thanked me. Just before the start, quickly drop the dropbag for Kenmare. The Zielbag I stowed in the backpack, the transport had the Director of Race Eileen thankfully organized in advance. Thank you, a really nice gesture.


Photos, countdown, silence … It started. Finally, run, only 4 kg of weight on his back. Additionally 2 flasks stowed in the front pockets. What a blessing. The whole week I was looking forward to it. Nothing new, even in Ireland, that was once started as if there was no tomorrow. Slowly but steadily, I took over the hedge of the starting field until I became a broom camel. Ohhh. With 46 participants, it’s fast. I was horn. First come in. From kilometer 30 starts an Ultra. Incoming was announced. The baseball cap and hood of the running jacket gave a dry feeling, although it piebelled continuously. The place was in no time left and we should now follow the signs of Kerryweg.

Sneem city

A bissl Kieselweg, a little tank road and then we were already in the middle of the brook landscape of the Kerryway. In the meantime, I had to hand over the back-up fuse. Jacket, off, jacket on, cap off, buff on. That stopped some pretty much. One or the other then had to dispose of the too much absorbed morning liquid. Zack, 3 places well done. 😉 If this continues so quickly, I still win the thing, -) Fun aside. The cutoff time was 13 hours for almost 60 kilometers. UTMB speed speed, so to speak. But today it was only 3000 hm (cumulative) to complete. I had calculated a time around the 10 hours. In view of the unknown route and the constant rain at night a seemingly feasible time. The last 14 kilometers I knew from the beginning of my hike. Here was my hour to catch up properly again 😉 Until then it was time to stay on the gas, do not waste time and not lose too much time on the rise. Downhill I can indeed a bissl.

Do not trust this information, has proven itself so often. The technical difficulty of the route can be neither horizontally nor vertically number. Especially not in a country where trail running is at home. The first jumps were reached quite fast. Small ladders that let the runner and walker get to the other side of a fence. I do not know how many of these little harassments I have boarded since Monday morning. A (felt) three-digit number it will have been safe.

At times without hood on the trail

The, my competence in the matter of ENTERING was clearly evident. Both the restrained start and my Übersteigtechnik let me quickly find within a larger rotor arm. It was certainly to the 2 other runners who escaped me until the next climb 😉 It was lonely nice. That’s the way I like it. No chattering and jabbering. Only Marie apologized from time to time that she had to overtake me again. So cute. 

What will have brought the week hiking, would it have significantly improved my horizontal speed? It remained exciting and made a promising start. Again and again more or less wide streams crossed the drive. Not infrequently the water followed the paths. In the beginning, when I tried to keep my feet dry, it became increasingly futile to find a suitable detour, less willing to seek it. At the checkpoint (CP) in Kenmare I had deposited dry socks and running shoes. I counted on 5 hours for the first stage. We crossed beautiful countryside without being able to fully admire it as a result of the cloud cover. It did not bother me that it occasionally rained young dogs. To finally be able to walk compensated for many, small adversities. Ireland weather just. Green Island is not made by color. But the light moments I had plenty of during the week made up for the few drops. 😉

The first hour was over pretty fast. I had completed eight kilometers. It went better than planned, the warm-up phase. None of the usual suspects in and around me rehearsed the uprising. Meanwhile, the barely had visual contact in one of the directions. Marie did not appear until the next ascent in the distance, then she was already gone again. Still 😉 time to take some energy. After a good 10 kilometers the first climb, downhill, uphill. One, two GELs changed the location. We were away from any urbanization. Trail running at its finest. Not too much climbing, the running passages a balancing act between slipping and not going down. Wet grass is treacherous. My Poles the absolutely right decision.

After 14 kilometers, we reached the N70, the Kerryway Road, which we were to leave shortly after in a forest path overcoming. Beautiful single trail through dense forest let the rain take a break. Two hikers met me. Then rather walk, especially today. My last 2 stages of the Kerry Way Circuit.

A little later, the track on the clock followed a pebble path, pointing a sign (big yellow arrow on a wet sign) to the coast. Was it an indication of the course director? I followed the signs and got straight to the coast. The path now followed the constant ups and downs of the coastline. Again shielded from the rain by a canopy of leaves. It must be even more gorgeous here, if you can admire the channel completely. Today we had to settle for less, but not least little. Still I saw the track on the map of my running clock. All right, I did not want to get lost in a race. The path ended with a short climb to the forest road. This I followed now in Hör- not but visibility to the N70. There, where the track should follow the road, again showed signs on the more idyllic trail. Short downhill and there I stood now. The groundbreaking line had left the map of Fenix.

Right or left here was the question. Or throw a coin? On a pile of wood, an invisible shield. I turned it and puzzled? „Kerry Way Walk 1km ->“ was noted. But my optimistic way went to the left, I did not want to miss the first official water hole in Templenoe. I deposited the shield as found and kept to the left. Without a coin 🙂 Certainly a pleasant excursion along the water edge. Waldweg was the better choice now. Passing a barrier, the dirt was disposed of the last 20 km on the N70. A few meters later there was water supply and a first official interim. 2:50 hours I had used for the first 20.20 km. Good time considering the objective. But after my height profile, I also knew the good comes at the end.

Quite fast, I left the water hole. Short information of the next CP. My fiveteen kilometers were confirmed. It had stopped raining for a few minutes at least. Time enough to pull out the iPhone and report a brief management report to the ground crew in Germany. Always happy to be scared (sorry), the relief at the end of the radio wave was to feel that everything went according to plan. Behind me only 3 runners so the announcement. It was still early in the day. The 10 hour finish time was announced goal, all other bonus. We followed, still phoning a long asphalt road into a settlement. When it started to drizzle again, I said goodbye to km 40. There I wanted to call home again. The slope decreased, it was time to go, overtaking was announced. Two runners of the Ultradistanz had already a few more hills in the musculature and let me pass. At the highest point of this small climb then the (almost) dream view of a small island in the channel. Quick a „wet“ photo and back in with the photo box in the rainproof jacket pocket. Picture is important, picture reminds, picture awakens desires and new desires 😉

It went now, yes, still on a small settlement road, asphalt covered down again. Almost 3 km I could let it roll. Without noticeable effort there was again a 5 on the running clock for the stored kilometers. Due to the topfebenen running surface I could enjoy beautiful views. Start number 125 was easily overrun. The slope just perfect to just have to hold the direction, without effort the legs did the rest of all alone. I love these downhills. You literally float there. Again and again I compared the track on the map with my walk. All right, no worries. The signage good, but not too lush. No sign on the junction is: „Keep going straight“. At least most 😉

The 26th kilometer was saved when it finally came to the key position. The 5 kilometers, which give you deep insights and impressions of Ireland moors 😉 A bissl Kieselweg, again a runner happens. I was now running warm and wanted to feel a bit thigh. Start running, puddles jumping, dodging wet grass, running and always changing. It was fun. Through a small forest and the next hill came into view. Exceed and? Where is the way? A meadow? A moor. Like a tracker I also moved the more or less available way. Zack! Wrong track read and I was up to my knees in the moor. Left in the moor, right aim water. The water and the mud warm. The shoe fortunately still on the foot when he stood 40 cm higher. That was close. I throttled my „pace“.

Somewhere in nowhere … over there a ladder over the fence. The way recognizable. Loud smacking and squealing. My shoes were the orchestra. I finally reached the crossings. Short pebble path. Shaking off mud, crossing, ascending Moorweg. Marie came into view with her white running jacket. It went uphill. I could do that, I was fine. „Reep Upper“ is the name of the landscape through which we „plowed“ ourselves. The time passed, the kilometers only noticeable at the beeping of the clock. Pure variety. High, dodging puddles, looking for the next tufts of grass to sink. Next up. Do not let sticks sink. Marie came closer. I’ll get her to the summit. My mantra provided motivation time and time again „I am there through Harry“ (from „Days of Thunder“). I was really „fast“ now. Self-suggestion is the key 😉 Where was the summit. Another small paragraph. Ahhh. Up there, I can do it. Run again and again, where it went. The use of the pole again makes sense for relief. I have her.

Shortly before the „summit“ it was my turn. The downhill now over mud and boulders. Exactly my thing. Quickly I had brought 100, sometimes 200 meters between us. Hikers were passed, careful not to beautify them with mud. The sticks again outstanding for the balance. Another kilometer? Time had lost any dimension, the trail bothered me more than anything else. Not even for a picture was time. Gorgeous up here.

Oops. Here we do not continue. Two narrow paths showed the way. I caught that into nirvana. Quick back over „camel grass“ to the last muddy downhill to Kenmare. Two carefully descending long-distance athletes could be safely passed. Greetings to the „Marathon des Sables“ finisher (Buff cloth makes it possible). Now a few shoes knock on the asphalt in the city center. Kilometer 33 showed the Fenix ​​when we left the wetland.

Quickly a few routes were overflowing, reached the center of the small, bustling city. VP / CP not in sight. I followed the track, I could already see the exit. No CP. Oh, nice church. Immediately take a picture. Well so what. What is written 50 meters behind the fence? A gazebo, hiker with start numbers? Yes. Checkpoint.

Dry things, dry shoes. Glorious. Only 22.4 km to the finish showed the Fenix. Half marathon is manageable. First set. A chair, a luxurious chair. Beautiful. Fill up the flask, change socks, change shoes. I leave things on. Too much junk. Not seven minutes later, I was again, as peeled out of the egg :-), on the track. Only 7-8 km of unknown route and then you can go. Or now? Let’s see.

Kenmare … CP just behind in the courtyard

At first we went out on asphalt on the place. I was good at jogging, running, jogging, running. The final increase. Nothing bad. 400 hm up to the highest point of the route. In the Uphill I was quite strong on the road. „I’m there through Harry“ Over and over again, mentally, not loud. I was not that far yet. It was still very good. Marie had overtaken me back at the CP. This cunning vixen. But I had dry feet, still, and could now pace. Once again she should not pass me by. I had to go through it now. Two runners I could still cash in on the easy downhill before it went up the second time. They stood there and changed 🙂 That was easy.

Blackberries along the way. I had to get some. Picking in passes is excellent. Driven to perfection at a walking pace, Beerenpflücking was now off to a jogging pace. Went. The yield nevertheless rather lean. But hands and mouth all the more colorful.


Ending. I had the next two runners ahead of me. I came quickly closer. In the downhill they were gone again. Next hill, same game. Then they also jogged uphill. OK. I can too. At least keep the distance to my known distance, kilometer 44.6 is stored there, as I know now. Until then it was not far away. Downhill, gorgeous. I can do that better. Scree, puddles, huge puddles prevented the mindless downhill. Again they were gone, my two magnets. What was that? A lake? A path full of water. Oh, there a detour, on stones. Unfortunately, these were not high enough. Slipped, my vanguard. Into the water, quickly take a picture and continue.

I also reached the „lake“. Now and here it was finally over with dry feet. 16 km from the finish. I had to go into the warm water. They would sweat dry, my suggestion. Keep running, keep connected. Again through a stream that sought his bed in the way. No workaround. Right through the middle. Still 15 kilometers showed the tracking of the Fenix. The branch had to come. In the distance the small church. Finally, my two forerunners turned off in the path lined with knee-high grass. Here we go …

I was looking forward to the spot, finally knowing the way, knowing what to expect, where to pace myself and where to regenerate. The first forest was reached quite quickly. I clearly recognized the weaknesses of my partners. Uphill was not her thing. But mine. My poles now had a lot of work to do. 2 pairs of legs are better than one. There was a lot of jogging, also up. I’ll grab ‚em in the „Cork Oak Forest“. Quickly up to the highest point of the known path and then you go. Bring distance between us. I was so busy, did not feel the time again.

What comes next is the finest railway threshold. Almost the entire plateau is laid side by side with two of them each as a way. Wet wood plank, a dream? 🙂 But the Irishman is smart and has nailed a wire net over it. That creates security. In addition to the trainroad means completely wet feet and possibly shoe away. I did not want to test it. I only went now. Do not look back. The two were fix downhill. But apparently I fixer on the railway sleeper trail 😉

Continue walking. Downhill only next plateau or plain. No matter. Railway sleepers with coarse rock. I had swapped the Vibram sole of the Speedgoat 2 for the desert slicks. The grip is not really supi. So short steps keep body center of gravity under the body. And „Run, Forest, run“ 😉 I ran and ran. Do not look back. Yes, I enjoyed it. if you run 4 km behind 2 runners and you do not get them … But then.

„I am there by Harry“ fit again perfectly. An orange jacket was visible on the last hill of the Kerryway. Slowly he dragged her up the slope. A cross country skier. He was already on the road for 34 hours. Over 175 km in the legs. One may step more devoutly. We greeted each other wordlessly. I did not walk uphill past him. Gave him my thumb. At the summit I dare to run again, respect !!! Great sport.

I had to go through it now. Still about 10 kilometers. A few smaller hills. At the waterfall it will be 7 km. I ran. Jogged. Downhill, level, more downhill. Straight down at the bridge. „Track deviation“ reported the Fenix. OK. Always happens in downhill. Clear.

Quickly a GEL and a nut bar with viiiiel Schoki I have too. About the wooden bridge, right, so I hiked 6 days ago. Short blackout in between. Now I was wide awake again. At the end of the forest track a helper, rain wet, which showed us the descent to the „Torc waterfall“. I did not notice the rain anymore. He had become a habit. Good cooling 😉 feet anyway wet. Another hour to the finish, so the pious wish. My mantra „Harry“ had to hold back until I reached the steps to the waterfall. 3 paragraphs, then below. The last piece full of tourists who need to take pictures of falling water. On the way I had seen impressive (temporary) waterfalls, which will not happen in 2 days. But many new ones. The „Torc Waterfall“ is always there. Extra for the tourists who can drive up to 400 m before. I passed the crowd injury free. Many foreigners among them. The Irishman drives and goes left. The tourist right. I was Irish today.

Quickly the second destination was reached here. Along the „Lough Leane“ lake you reach the estate of Muckross. No, no picture. My iPhone was freshly watered and unable to wake up. „Siri“ would have been the solution. The next time. Short runner on the asphalt. Spared the trail. I now had to constantly run a 7-section. Should be feasible, it would have been Trail. My motivation sinks a bit if I have to walk 4 km on asphalt. And I had to. OK. I had first looked at the end time in „Muckross“. With the 10 hours that will probably be nothing.

I was too fast. Not really, but faster than expected. It was time to think about a cool time, 4 km before the end. 8:64 would be cool. No, I was fast and under 9 hours it should be. I would not make 8-4-0. No matter. I somehow ran under 9 hours now and let’s see what comes out of it. 7 min-tempo or a little over it was totally ok for me. Toss it in front of me 7: 16-7: 06-6: 58-7: 06-6: 40. At the end then still have to overtake a long-distance, even only could wander. You do not, I know. But that would have been too slow for me. Sorry. And I think 2 km from the finish is ok.

After 8:55 hours

I reached the gas station in Killarney. He saw the finish sign on the roadside. Put on a relaxed expression and cheered the finish. 

Thank you Eileen and her many hard-working helpers for a really great experience. Will I run the full round again in this life? Without support in my view hardly feasible. Come time, come inspiration.

Ireland is a trail paradise. Not too steep, a lot of running, very secluded and noise-free. Zack, in December we’re off to the Wicklow Way . Next step on a new island

Continuation does not follow anymore, all said 🙂

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