Ireland is getting its own Race Across America-like ultra-endurance race in September with the inaugural 1,350 mile Race Around Ireland Challenge. The non-stop event will loop around the country past some of Ireland's most famous landmarks and cross the country's highest mountains with 23,000m of lung-busting climbs.
"This is designed to be one of the most gruelling cycling challenges in the world," read a statement from organizers.
The course will not be closed to traffic and will have no aid stations. Racers will have to arrange their own support. It will start and finish in Navan, Co. Meath and travel through no less than 22 counties. Some of the highlights of the course include Newgrange, Giants Causeway, Malin Head, Connemara, The Burren, Ring of Kerry, Mizen Head, Carrick on Suir and the Wicklow Mountains.
The race is sanctioned by the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA), which has placed the event on its International World Cup Series. It is the second longest event in its calendar after the legendary Race Across America.
Solo, four-person and eight-person teams may compete, and solo racers will be required to ride at least 22 hours per day for four days. World number one ranked cyclist Caroline van den Bulk of Canada has already signed up.
The race is being organized in association with Navan Road Club and the Irish Sports Academy. For more information, visit www.racearoundireland.com.