People across Inishowen are set to be pushed to the limit by one of the peninsula newest and most exciting ventures to date.
The latest edition to Inishowen’s tourism base, EXtreme North, is a locally-based adventure company aimed at everyone aged 18 - 80. It aims to take the humdrum out of long distance runs and cycles by mixing different sports together and transforming a routine work-out into a true adventure.
It’s been set up by Moville businessman and keen athlete Harold McGuinness, whos’ bringing this entirely different way of working out to Inishowen for the first time.
“I want to let people know they can push themselves harder when they are exercising by mixing different sports. It makes it easier on people as it takes less endurance than a regular marathon. It causes you to use different muscle groups. Something may seem impossible at first, but with the right routine, training and programme, it can be achieved.
“A course may consist of a 1 mile run, 10 mile cycle, 1 mile Kayak, 4 mile mountain trek and 12 mile cycle taking in Mamore Gap. Of course it does take a bit of convincing that a normal human being would even consider putting their bodies through such torment! But we are here to assure you it can be done.”
Since he started running at the ripe age of 41, Harold has completed over 25 marathons, run the Himalayan 100 mile race, and completed the Mount Everest Marathon and numerous charity cycles worldwide.
“When I was 41 years-old, and three stone heavier than what I am now, I bought my first pair of runners. Since then I have completed over 25 marathons and in 2005 I completed the infamous Marathon Des Sables, which boasts being the toughest race in the world.”
Harold explains how it is possible for someone who has a reasonable fitness level to take part in his adventure trips.
“A first time marathoner with normal training will be completely knackered at the end because of the continuous use of the same muscles and limbs.
“Marathons are torturous, especially if you haven’t got the right training in - and that’s from experience and mistakes. Everyone creates a time expectation for a marathon and get disillusioned as their target slips their grasp, putting more pressure on themselves.”
The first venture will be the The Rugged Peaks Challenge in Ballyliffin on 8th October, with nominated charities Donegal Hospice and Co-operation Ireland. It covers 59km of running, biking, kayak and hiking.
“Because of the change of disciplines, muscle groups get a rest. The transition of switching also helps rest the body. For instance, the kayak, which is safe and a more fun element of the venture ,relaxes the body for the pending tough climbs ahead. Half marathoners with some cycling experience, or good cyclists with 10k runs, are ideally positioned to challenge this course. We also have five events already for 2012 so there is a lot of variety for people.”
With the majority of the events taking place in the Inishowen peninsula, Harold hopes this will help boost the local economy as well as introducing a new kind of sport in the area.
“Inishowen has the scenery and landscape needed to create events like this. I know as soon as people come once, they will be sold for the next event. We have beautiful, coastal scenic routes which people will recognise.”
Extreme North has been eight months in the development stage. Harold would like to acknowledge the support of Ballyliffin Development Enterprise and IDP Carndonagh for making this event possible in 2011.
He would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Daire and Piotr his 2 student designers who have worked diligently in developing the branding and marketing for Extreme North and the Rugged Peaks Challenge.
For more information on all their events for 2012 contact: www.extremenorthevents.com or if you have any queries email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0749382917.