John Harrington is a Cork native who loves to adventure race, with 3 kids under 3 this can be a challenge at times, but he doesn’t let training get in his way…he might be what you would call an unusual adventure racer.
People say to me that I’m not like a lot of people who’re very into doing events and challenges. I suppose I’m not really, I don’t train very much, I’m lucky if I do a 5km run once a week. I have 3 kids under 3 so I’m time-short, I love the events though so in a way they act as training sessions for the next event. I’m very fortunate to have a very supportive wife who understands when I vanish for 2 days leaving a very busy house behind. For me, adventure racing is all about pushing myself, to breaking point, to that point where you think, I just can’t do this – and then realising you can and doing it – it’s that simple.
My main interests have always been around motor sports, fast bikes, fast cars. I never ran, cycled, did GAA, I didn’t even own a pair of runners; until about three years ago a few friends suggested we do Quest Killarney March. I trained more for that event than I have for any since. We did the 33km ‘Sport’ route, it was daunting and tough and there was an awesome sense of achievement to complete it but I felt something was missing. So, I decided that I had to push myself and how I was going to do that was to do the longest routes possible. I didn’t up my training or buy any techy/fancy gear, I just decided to push myself harder on the event. So, I do every adventure race that’s going pretty much across Ireland. However, I do like to do some preparation for the events by studying the course, checking out the routes in advance. I like to know what resource I’ll need to push myself through it.
I’ve done all the Quest events now and they all offer different things. Killarney October is my favourite, due to the sheer killer element of Mangerton at the end of the ‘Expert’ route, that’s where breaking point comes. I did the new event in Wales this year and that was very tricky, which I loved. Betws-y-Coed and Snowdonia is an absolutely stunning area so I’m headed back there to drive my motor bike around on my holidays this summer.
With adventure racing it’s one foot in front of the other, enjoy it, that’s what it’s all about. Not the rankings, just the achievement. When you’re out on the course it’s really important to offer support and encouragement to everyone, you might need it yourself sometime.
I’ve got to know other people who do the events over time, there’s a great sense of community and ‘we’re all in it together’ about the events. The funny thing is, I’m not mad about running, I don’t like cycling, but, you know what? I love doing them in an adventure race! And I can’t wait for the next one.