Emma Phillips lives in Killarney and does adventure races for a variety of reasons, keeping fit and socialising are key.
I have completed three adventure races and it has always been with a group so it’s more a social, than competitive thing for me.
I have a medical condition which hinders my ability to run for any length. Part of the reason to get training in the first place was to prevent me from seizing up altogether. Running is not my sport, this is why I like the adventure race. The climbs are done at your own pace, you can run or you can walk as you like and you can make good time with the cycling or kayaking so I try to get my bike fitness up to a good level and will tackle the mountain climbs at least once a week, but again, it is a social thing so we do it as a group.
I live in Killarney and mostly train in the gym with friends. I generally do walks and climbs on my own with my dog, but I am more motivated and prefer to do them with a group. I normally do the Sport routes and in the run up to an event I get together with the gym girls to climb and cycle. Our real motivation is finishing but also testing ourselves.
These events, for me, give me something to aim towards, I may never be the best but I will improve over time and I have met some great people out of it. The sense of achievement is fantastic and when you come to the finish line of your first you are already planning what you would do to improve you next attempt.
When we’re training we might go up Carrantouhill, Strickeen or Cardiac Steps – we’re doing the Old Kenmare Road in August which definitely counts as training too. Otherwise you’ll find me in the gym doing a mixture of Anti-Gravity Yoga, TRX/Kettlebells, Crossfit, Weights and Cardio.
I don’t know that I will ever graduate to the expert routes, I think I need to improve my times first. Life is for living not sitting on the couch, god knows I did enough of that in my day! I am forty-seven and feckin’ fabulous and proof that even late in life you can get active and challenge yourself!
My advice for someone thinking about doing an adventure race is, sign up, don’t procrastinate – committing is the first step. Aim to finish – at your own pace, in your own time but more than all that – enjoy the adventure!
Learn more about adventure racing and Quest Killarney October here.