In our latest guest blog veteran adventure racer and inspiration to us all, Ger Kelly, tells us how she got into adventure racing and has never looked back.
“I had passed the half century age and was now well established in the “Auld Biddy Club”, when I ventured into running and cycling. At 51yrs of age, a friend challenged me to do a charity run, it took some convincing, as I thought running sounded too energetic and exhausting, I hadn’t run the length of myself since leaving school. I live in Wexford with my husband Thomas, and am self-employed in my family business. Both Thomas and I first dipped our toes into adventuring racing for the craic at Killarney Adventure Race – Paddy’s weekend in 2015 which was run by the now more well-known Quest Adventure Series.
We enjoyed the experience so much that I started looking up other adventure races, and realised Quest ran a few throughout the year. The big bonus being that there was no swimming involved in this multisport, but a kayak section instead (I hate swimming), but I still now do one or two triathlons a year with friends. The friendly atmosphere and the craic and banter with everyone while out racing is what brings me back to Quest events. It’s like coming home to visit the family for the weekend with a bit of craic on the mountains and a big party. The easy registration system from entering online to collecting race packs and great friendly customer service with quick replies to any queries either online, by phone, or email is terrific. I find they go the extra mile for you.
What I love about Quest is the craic meeting up with friends before the races, it is so well organised and run. I have introduced numerous friends to Quest and they all loved them and are all repeat competitors now, looking forward to each race. I’m not sure how Quest do it, but they manage time and again to get excellent friendly marshals to stand on top of a cold mountain often in pouring rain, or standing knee deep in a cold lake with a kayak ready for you, always with a smile and a cheery word to everyone. I spend my entire race thanking all of them as I pass by.
I think it’s the banter and camaraderie to be had at adventure racing that beats triathlon hands down. Most of the time you are with someone having the chats and the laughs along the way so the time passes quickly. Triathlon is a lonely serious sport in comparison. If I have a middle or long course triathlon lined up during the year, I use Quest races to keep me fit and on target rather than doing Olympic or sprint triathlons as they are much more enjoyable.
I train with friends and club mates as much as possible, as I hate training alone. So early morning training is done with Thomas or a neighbour, evening and weekend training with club mates who are all regular competitors of Quest. Thankfully I don’t have an issue at home with training times, as Thomas also is out training for Quest races, so it works out well. Any days there are family get togethers I simply start the training earlier in the morning. Good lights on the bike and a good headlamp do the job perfectly.
I think if anyone was interested enough to have a look at adventure racing regardless of fitness, Quest have a challenge there for you, and for a first timer, you definitely get a huge kick out of completing a race and will be very inclined to sign up for the next one.”