My friend Dave and I decided to attempt the Mt Leinster Challenge on June 15th 2023 which happened to be my 33rd birthday.
I did a solo scouting run about a month prior to this attempt with my dog to get a feel for the terrain and route options. The challenge states that route options between summits can be chosen by the runner as long as the start and finish point is at Shannon's Lane Sign Post and the route covers each of the 5 summits required, so I decided to try this challenge as an out and back instead of the loop that was originally established by Fiona.
Dave and I drove from Dublin to the start point of Shannon's Lane Sign Post, the temperature was 20 degrees and sunny. We each wore a running vest and carried 1L of water, a banana, couple of gels and some jelly babies. Started at aprox 11.30am, off up the hill from Shannon's Lane Sign Post, reached the Knockroe Junction but continued past Knockroe for now towards Mt Leinster. At the foot of the steep climb to the summit of Mt Leinster, we cut right intending to bypass the Mt Leinster summit in an effort to save time by minimising our elevation gain and would hit this summit on the way back, we held our elevation of about 200m below the Mt Leinster summit and headed towards the ridge line that leads to Mt Leinster East Top, cutting across this slope turned out to be a lot more difficult then I had hoped and I think ultimately probably cost us time, I would not recommend it. Once we were back on the ridge we could move quickly again and summited Mt Leinster East Top, continued on and reached Black Rock summit, back over Mt Leinster East Top then again on the way back, all the running through this section was fast and very enjoyable. Up the steep climb to the highest point of Mt Leinster summit now and we got slightly off trail veering maybe 20 meters off parallel to the trail for most of this climb but found the top eventually. So far we had been bang on my estimated splits at each point mentioned, however at the top of Mt Leinster we were now 7 mins ahead of pace which gave us a nice morale boost. Back down to Knockroe junction, up the zig zag road to Knockroe summit. Instead of retracing our footsteps back down to Knockroe Junction which would be the typical route, I previously scouted an animal path/dried up stream that would take us directly back down to the road towards our last peak, so set off down that trail. We joined back onto the main path and reached the Clorogue Junction pretty quick, still 7 mins ahead of pace. The trail down to the river crossing here was harder and slower then expected with thick bushes, up the far side of the river was ok but steeper then it looks from far away. Reached the Clorogue summit but lost some of our 7 min buffer, back down to the river crossing was fine but again the opposite side was slower going then originally expected. We reached the main path again but had lost all of our 7 min gain so now back right on pace which was suppose to get us back to the finish point 8 mins ahead of the current FKT. We toke off down the main path, through the 2 gates and back to Shannon's Lane Sign Post, and touched the signpost with 6 mins to spare. It was 27 degrees and still splitting sunshine by the time we finished at aprox 3pm, our 1L of water each had been enough but we were both very thirsty by the end.
Final time 3hrs 27mins.
Had great fun organising and attempting this FKT and would like to thank the people who originally established the challenge and those who have attempted it.