The inaugural ‘Knock ME Down Challenge’ in 2016 was a remarkable success. So much so that the 2017 event was much anticipated, and it didn’t disappoint. A total of 145 participants took to the Knockmealdown mountains to cycle, run and Kayak their way through the country’s most innovative multi-disciplinary challenge event. The 2017 event had a number of participants from Waterford, two of whom fared very well indeed. Dungarvan’s Shane Power smashed the course record with a phenomenal time of 81 minutes. Not to be outdone, Claudia Lane, from Kilmeaden, despite partaking in the Female Over 40 category, was the fastest overall female participant on 98 minutes. She also holds the proud record of being the first female participant to break the 100 minute barrier in this challenging event.
This event is organised by voluntary group, Knockmealdown Active, which promotes of all types of activites along the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains in south Tipperary and into Cork and Waterford. The Knock ME Down Challenge involves cycling, running, (or walking) and Kayaking. As multi-sport challenge events go, it is well suited to anybody with a reasonable level of fitness and is not targeted solely at elite athletes. The entire course is on marked roads and forestry tracks and is fully marshalled so nobody gets lost.
The Challenge involves a 15km Cycle from Newcastle, outside Clonmel, to Kilballyboy Wood car park/picnic site on the Vee Road outside Clogheen. Bikes are parked here while participants take a beautiful scenic 2.5km run (or walk in some cases) from Kilballyboy Wood to Baylough lake. There is a bit of a kick in this section as participants encounter the ‘challenge’ element of the event. The climb from Loughglenbridge to Baylough itself is steep, but really rewarding when you reach the lake. The run section is followed by a 0.5km sit-on kayak trip around Baylough (no need for prior experience with all equipment provided). Once completed, participants then take a different running route back to Kilballyboy Wood and a (thankfully mainly downhill) 15km return cycle journey to Newcastle.
90 participants took part in 2016, with numbers expanded considerably for the 2017 event, due to huge demand. The event sold out in a matter of weeks on release in June.
On completion participants were spent and elated having all put in a huge effort. At the finish line all who took part were effusive in their praise for the event itself and its organisation. The general consensus was that it was, once again, very well run and a real credit to the Knockmealdown Active team. Many of those who took part had also participated in 2016 and most of those who took part this year were eager to give it a go again in 2018.
Results for the 2017 event were:
Ladies Over 40: Claudia Lane on 98m 12s and Sabrina Hickey on 110m 20s.
Ladies Under 40: Michelle Lonergan on 100m 03s and Maria Flynn on 103.36.
Men Over 40: Alan Carter on 89m 51s and Kieran Duggan on 93m 24s.
Men Under 40: Shane Power on 81m 28s (new course record) and John Quinlan on 91m 52s.
Knockmealdown Active and its members would like to thank their numerous sponsors for the event, as well as local businesses who gave freely of their time goods and expertise along with the many volunteers who helped out with running the event on the day. The list is too long to mention, but they have all been thanked separately on the Knockmealdown Active Facebook Page. If you are interested in being notified when booking for 2018 event has been announced just sign up on the subscription form at www.kmdactive.com and like the Facebook page at facebook.com/knockmealdown.