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Gaelforce gardaí will cross pain barriers for Tania McCabe Foundation

Competitors make their way down whats known as the Skelp on the side of Croagh Patrick during Gaelforce 2010.?
Competitors make their way down whats known as the Skelp on the side of Croagh Patrick during Gaelforce 2010.?Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Gaelforce gardaí will cross pain barriers for Tania McCabe Foundation

12,000 visitors expected in Westport for adventure race

Aine Ryan

AS over 12,000 people prepare to descend on Westport and its environs for the Gaelforce West festival, over 100 gardaí will participate in the grueling event to  raise funds for a new charity, which honours the memory of a young female garda from Louisburgh who died tragically after childbirth. Established in 2006,  Gaelforce West will be held on Saturday next, August 20.
The Tania McCabe Foundation, launched some weeks ago, aims to raise €50,000  for  vital equipment for special care baby units at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda and Unit 8, at Holles Street Hospital, Dublin. 
Former Garda Sergeant Tania McCabe was aged just 34 when she died in March 2007 alongside one of her twin boys, Zach, hours after she gave birth to his twin, Adam, who weighed just 2lbs 10ozs.    
Attending the recent foundation launch, Taoiseach Enda Kenny praised the 110 gardaí who had signed up for the grueling 67km course – which includes running, kayaking and cycling – from the Killary to Westport.
Enda Kenny said at the time: “What you are doing with Gaelforce and your first occasion to raise money is a brilliant choice. I wish them very well; these warriors that take part in adventure races, as they are called, are not triathlon people or Olympians – they are superhuman to do what they do.”
As well as the gardaí, the Gaelforce West extreme challenge attracts top competitiors from all over the country. And this year one of the UK’s top adventure racers, Bruce Duncan is set to participate. 
Mr Duncan won last year’s Nokia Coast to Coast in the UK and has also been a member of the winning team for the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race, feted as one of the toughest adventure races in the world.
Of the Gaelforce challenge, he said: “Racing in Ireland will be new for me, I have never been, so really looking forward to getting over there; fingers crossed the weather is good, so I can enjoy the amazing views so many people have told me about.”

Tourism bonanza

WITH almost 3,000 competitors from all over the globe, and another 9,000 plus supporters, accommodation providers from Claremorris to Achill, Leenane to Castlebar will be busy this weekend for the world’s biggest one-day extreme sports event.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday, Brian Quinn of Fáilte Ireland, confirmed that this event was proving to be one of the highlights of the tourism season and its success was ensuring the area would be branded the ‘Adventure Capital’ of Ireland.
“Just like last year hoteliers and B&B owners are committed to really supporting Gaelforce West by providing early breakfasts for the athletes and supporting their special needs for the occasion.”
Gaelforce West is run by Jamie Young and his family who own Killary Adventure Company.    

The course
THE Gaelforce West Adventure Race course stretches from the spectacular Glassilaun beach, onto the Killary fjord and across land to pyramidal peak, Croagh Patrick. It encompasses a beach, trail and road run of 13km;  a one-km paddle across the Killary in a kayak;  a 3.5km run on-road and through bogland; a hilly 33.5km cycle through narrow rural roads; a 4.5km ascent of Croagh Patrick; and cycle on and off-road to Westport Quay, jogging to the finishing line.