The Motivate Challenge – Race report and Review
What is it?: The Motivate Challenge is an adventure race which takes place in Punchestown Co. Kildare. The race has two main distances (Motivate 25 & the Motivate 70) and challenges competitors to run, kayak and cycled to complete the multisport course. The Motivate challenge is a race designed for athletes of all levels, from complete beginners and first timers to ultra-fit competitors.
As with most races, participants in the Motivate Challenge had to register and check in their bikes the night before the event. We drove from Dublin to Punchestown race course and within ten minutes we’d completed the registration process and picked up our goody bag. The process was very smooth and well run with friendly organisers on hand to answer any queries which we had. The goody bag contained a number of items including a technical T-shirt and race water bottle!
The next step was checking our bikes at the Kayak/Bike transition area at the Avon Ri. The bike transition is a 10 minute drive from the registration. The route was sign posted and the organisers also took the time to write down directions for us to follow. Unfortunately with the dark autumn evenings, finding the Avon Ri was a bit more complicated then we expected. We didn’t notice any of the signs marking the way, but thankfully we had the written directions which the organisers had given us. 10 minutes after arriving at transition our bikes were racked and we were on the road back to Dublin for a good nights sleep!
The weather gods must have been smiling on the Motivate Challenge as we were greeted by sunshine at the race start. The spectator stands were crowded with competitors of all levels of experience, warming up and preparing for the challenge ahead. The organisers made arrangements for those coming from further away to start in the later waves, thus facilitating their travel to the event. After a warm up and quick and clear briefing from the organisers, it was time for us to take our places at the start line. There was no shortage of nervous energy and smiling faces as competitors listened to the countdown. 5,4,3,2,1..GO!
Motivate Challenge Stage 1: (10Km Run)
The 10Km run course began on a trail before joining quiet country roads. There was great banter amongst competitors as everyone enjoyed the stunning scenery and autumn sunshine. “This is my first adventure race andI signed up 5 weeks ago. I’m not too sure how I’ll do in the Kayak though! ” said one competitor. It wasn’t long though before conversations began to grow quiet as the hills on the course began take their toll. Water stations were located at regular intervals making sure that we had plenty of fluids. As we reached the crest of the final hill we were treated to spectacular views and our legs enjoyed a welcome respite from the constant climbing. We picked up the pace, happy in the knowledge that is was mostly downhill to the next stage of the race!
Motivate Challenge Stage 2: (1.5 Km Kayak)
Spectators cheered as we arrived into the Run/Kayak transition, pleased to be able to give our weary legs a rest. Marshals handed us our life jackets and we hopped into our 2 man kayak and shoved off. The wind was picking up, making it difficult to keep our Kayak on course (ok… maybe our technique wasn’t 100% either) but soon we found our rhythm and began to eat up the distance. The sun was still shining as we paddled and before we knew it we’d arrived back at transition and were back on dry land again!
Motivate Challenge Stage 3: (12 Km Bike)
Kayak section complete, it was time to tackle the short uphill run to the kayak/bike transition. The transition area was once again well organised and within one minute we were on our bikes and hitting the road. The ‘Motivate Challenge 25’ bike course was a 12Km loop on open roads. As we joined the main road we had to negotiate a busy intersection which meant waiting for a safe time to cross. Although we’d been clearly briefed regarding this intersection, it would have been great to have had a marshal to slow competitors and act as a warning for oncoming traffic. Once across, we were back in race mode on quiet roads. Cyclists swapped words of encouragement as they dug deep and kept pushing themselves. Some competitors cycled old mountain bikes and some cycled road bikes, but all enjoyed the route. As I passed one guy on a mountain bike he started smiling before shouting “You fecker, you’ve got a racer!” The remainder of the bike was well signposted & marshalled and soon we were back at the Punchestown race course for our final section of the race.
Motivate Challenge Stage 4: (3Km run)
We quickly racked our bikes and started out on our final leg of the Motivate Challenge, a 3Km run loop of the Punchestown racecourse. The mood was high as participants drew on their energy reserves for one final push. Spectators cheered as we crossed the Motivate Challenge finish line and were congratulated by race organisers! “That was great craic” were the first words uttered by my race partner once he gathered his breath.
Overall the Motivate Challenge was a great race which offered participants an opportunity to test themselves in a supportive and well organised environment. The feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive and it’s an event which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. After we crossed the finish line we collected our race medal and received hot chicken pasta and water to refuel our energy stores. The organisers also put on a great event for kids and families with pony rides, a dog tournament (including dog with the ‘waggiest’ tail competition) and a petting zoo on offer for free.
Well done to all those who competed in this event and to the (very supportive) marshals and organisers who did a great job on the day!