Racers 2017

Profiles will be updated as and when they are received by email to donegalultra555@yahoo.com

Aidan Callaghan – Solo Rider

So here we go, I’ve been talking about it for long enough, time to bite the bullet!

I’m Aidan Callaghan, I have competed in Triathlon for the past number of years over both short and long course with wins in both sprint and Olympic distances, last year claiming the Irish National Middle Distance Championship and also qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

Ironman would be consider long… but not 555km long, so this will be a completely different ball game, one which I am looking forward too, at least at the minute, before I start any serious training, it may be a different story when the 10 and 12 hour spins kick in.

With the Ultra being on our door step in Donegal its the perfect excuse, to try something new, test myself and see how far my body and mind can take me. I’m expecting it to be a extremely tough, the course speaks for itself and there are several serious competitors taking the start line, so all round, it should make for a exciting race.

Expectations for the race, as close to the top spot as possible. I’ll give it everything, train smartly and see how it pans out.

As with previous years I will be fuelled by Wholegreen, to whom I am incredibly grateful for their continued support. I’m sure Anna and the team will keep me going around the clock with healthy, nutritious energy filled grub.

If any other business or organisation would like to come on board as a sponsor me for this event please do get in touch, I am currently on the outlook for new partners for the coming year.

All I need to do now, is bribe a few men into becoming crew members.

That’s it from me, see you on the start line.


Chris Beattie – Solo Rider

The Donegal Ultra 555 will be my first step into ultra-cycling. Thankfully I have been able to put everything together this season to take on the event being held over some of the toughest roads in Ireland.

As a test rider for Q36.5 I log big annual miles covering well over 18000 miles in 2016 alone. Progressing into the world of ultra-racing has seen me put in the long rides including over the 250-mile mark in training as preparation for this event. I have also trained and learned a great deal from Robert Morris out in San Francisco over the past years who is of California triple crown hall fame so I think I will be well prepared!

For me this event will be a test both personally and for my crew to see how competitive we can be on the world scene. The event is certainly one of the very best and this can be seen with the high calibre of the competition. Being located so close to home is a big bonus from a logistics perspective but chasing a big result will no doubt be a hard fought affair!

As well as being an Ambassador for Q36.5 cycling apparel and Sommet cc who specialize in exceptional European cycling trips I have highlighted below some of my results in events over 100 miles in distance which give some background to my recent events:

2nd – NICF 100m TT championship

38th – Irish Elite Road Race Championship

38th overall – Tour of the North International stage race

21st overall – New York Granfondo, New York

2nd overall 2013 (4th 2014) – Levi’s Leiphimer’s Kingridge Granfondo, California

7th overall – Granfondo Giro d’italia Northern Ireland

8th overall – Jens Voight Granfondo, California

Now it is my turn to my turn to tackle the Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra event! See you on the road in Donegal!

Sponsors – Q36.5 Absolutely equipment & Sommet cc


Owen Martin – Solo Rider

This will be my first time doing an Ultra distance event, I come from a Triathlete background focusing on Ironman distance. This year will be my 8th year in a row representing IRL in the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii. My reasons for entering this race is that I know it will take me out of my comfort zone and test me both physically and mentally. Also long term RAAM is on my bucket list as is racing Ultra Ironman distance, so this will be a nice wee introduction to going really long.

Crossing the finish line will be number one target, but I am going into this wanting to give a good account of myself. I am looking forward to getting over and getting to bike the course pre-race, really is a beautiful part of the world Donegal. Next for me is to seek out some sponsors to help me on my way, and to put together a good support crew, as I know this race is more than riding a bike for a long time. I am excited!


Chapel Lane CC – Declan Reilly and Stephen Griffin – Two Person Team

Declan and Stephen have competed in a number of sportive events; Wicklow 200, Lap the Lough, Wicklow peaks etc. over the years.Declan is back on the bike the last three years after an absence of 15 years or so, whereas Stephen has been cycling for a long time now. He is a past member of Swords CC where he raced for a number of years.

We started a club in work last year and have been working on promoting and building this. We now have a membership of 30+, most of whom are active members. Richies bike shop in Swords has sponsored us so I’m sure he’ll be looking to have his name posted all over our support car!

We entered the race as a challenge, we have never competed in an ultra-race before but we feel we have the fitness to get around and hope to finish in 20 hours, hopefully not the last team in! 


 Eamonn Diver – Solo

“I’m a 40 something 😊 year old who loves taking part in endurance sports, I truly believe if the challenge doesn’t  scare you then it’s probably not big enough. Having completed various events from jetskiing unsupported around Ireland to “The Race” 2016 and everything in between from Dublin city marathon to Malin – Mizen cycle, I believe this challenge to be a true test of character & ability.

This challenge will be a real test of both mental & physical endurance and the fact that it’s taking place in my home County makes it a “must do” goal for 2017. This one will focus the mind and to complete it will require a dedicated training program, but then nothing worth while just lands on your lap!


 UlsterScots – Four Person Team

The UlsterScots are a mixed group of experiences but similar abilities comprising of two Ulstermen and two Scotsmen. We have all cycled distances of over a century (within a 24 hour period!) and have various other sporting interests. Our reason for entering the event is not least to overcome the feat of the distance, but also to challenge ourselves physically and mentally along side developing our team working and preparation skills.
We expect to finish with priority weighted toward having contributed our utmost rather than the time on the clock. As a group of self funded young professionals (1 policeman and 3 doctors), 3 of which are new fathers and 1 planning a wedding, our the greatest challenge we face is getting the training done and keeping wives/fiancés on board!

Cool Runnings – Eight Person Team

The first ever all ladies team to have signed up for the race. The “Cool Runnings” team of Irene Mc Fadden, Shauna Mc Geehan, Serena Mc Daid, Maria Mulligan, Nakita Burke, Marian Kerr, Eithne Cox and Sinead Peoples will swap their running shoes for cycling shoes this June. All ladies have vast experience of running from track to cross-country to marathon distance, so they all know how to suffer and push their bodies, excellent qualities for tackling the 555km by bike!


Aidan Fitton – Solo Rider

Fresh from Race Around Ireland (RAI) 2016, the Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra was next on the agenda for Aidan. Having started cycling about eight years ago, Aidan went from sportives to adventure races, Audax cycles and the four-man team for Race Around Ireland 2016.    

Running his own fitness centre, Kettlebells Ashbourne in Meath, Aidan comes from a rugby and GAA background in native Ballincollig. 

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of the Donegal Ultra, especially the training. I love a good plan! It’ll be very different to the RAI team event but I’ll have a support crew, coach Gareth Enright and support from cycle club Ratoath Wheelers to answer to!”


Team North East Wheelers – Two Person Team

Oisin Weldon, Collon Co. Louth and Barry Smyth, Navan Co. Meath

This is our first try at a cycling only event. Our previous experience spans mostly marathon/ ultra-marathon events and multi-sport 24 hour events. It is also our first time working together as a team. All our previous events have been as solo competitors.

We crewed the event last year for a solo rider and really enjoyed the event experience. So this time we wanted to ride it and the team event offered us an opportunity to dip our toes in the ultra-cycling world with the bonus of having safety in numbers, so to speak.

Hopefully all going well we will be looking to build on this and take on some other challenges in the ultra-cycling world.

There is nothing interesting about endurance athletes. J. We eat, sleep, train, sit on the couch and go again. BORING.


Mike Burke – Solo Rider

Hello. My name is Mike Burke and, for my sins, I am a photographer based in Dublin.
Although I have been cycling for a lot of years and have done quite a few Sportives – in particular The An Post Series for the past two years, and also the Wicklow 200.
I have also completed the Ironman 70.3 in Galway as part of a relay team in 2011, and I regularly compete in sprint duathlons throughout the year and last year I joined Pulse Triathlon Club to push myself into completing a Triathlon on my own – and not as part of a relay team, so far so good. But this will be my first Ultra event.
For me, this race is a natural progression in my cycling – with the exception of my first Sportive – The Burnin’ Burren in Clare – I have always preferred endurance over speed – try as I might I am just not that fast!
For my first Ultra I have two goals…
1) To complete it and
2) Not to be last
I am confident on the first – I generally tend to finish what I start – and am hopeful on the second! My target is to finish in between 30 and 32 hours but having no experience of this type of racing this could be a total pipe dream.
My support team is made up of my wife – my greatest supporter and without whom I could never do any of these races – and my brother and his wife. The first will, hopefully take care of the food and body care/physio and the latter the kit and navigation. And all this is sponsored and funded by the great people in Woodcreations Limited in Firhouse, Dublin and in part by Mike Burke Photography.

John MacCormack – Solo Rider

Have to blame the early midlife stuff which sent me on this path via Tri’s – marathon- Ironman- adventure races- then Donegal’s The Race and last year first with a crew in Coast2Coast. The old body can’t handle running anymore so it’s bikes. I’ve also signed up for the Irish Ultra Challenge in August.
I work weekends which leaves me cycling mostly on my own and I love the head space.
Suppose the goals for this event are simple;
1. To finish, 2. To finish still mates with the crew, 3. To stay safe, 4. Show my kids that if you want something and work hard you can get it .
Lastly after it’s over still want to get on my bike. I’ve met some of the other racers before and it’s always great to meet up with other nutters. A massive thanks must go to my wife Laura who lets this big kid still dream.

Hughies Crew – Eight Person Team

Fionnuala Larkin, David Larkin, Hugh Tinney, Giles Mc Gee, Barry Tinney and Sammy Bogan.
Team Captain Fionnuala writes:
The team have competed in many adventure races and road running races throughout the past year. My Dad has completed many long distance cycles over his many years of cycling, for example, Galway to Letterkenny/ Sligo to Letterkenny, he cycled across America for charity many years ago and takes part in many local charity events every year, He will be 76 this June.
We have decided to enter the Ultra race because… I have basically convinced them that it will be great craic!!! and I really think it will be a great thing for my Dad to accomplish. Everyone on the team is related somehow, sisters, brothers, cousins, in-laws sons and daughters etc.

Sean Mc Crudden – Solo Rider

Matthew McKinley – Solo Rider

I have been cycling for a number of years and have competed in various road races, time trials and a number of adventure races. Having competed last year in this event as part of a two man team I have decided to take on the challenge of doing it again this year but as a solo rider. I thoroughly enjoyed the event last year it was very well organised and the route really showed off the beauty of our county while taking us up most of the challenging climbs it has to offer. I have a good idea what will lie ahead of me when I take to the start ramp in June so I’m hoping with the right amount of training between now and then and a good support team I’ll manage to get around the course in one piece and without too many aches and pains.

Matthew seen here on the left with “AAA” Teammate Conor Mc Ilwaine on the start line of the 2016 race. They would go on to win their category and set a course record of 17hrs44mins.


Team Ballybofey Autofactors – Two Person Team

Damien Mc Elhinney and John Mc Fadden from Ballybofey.
We both have been cycling a number of years, mostly taking part in Sportives, but this is our biggest challenge yet by far.
We decided to take on the Challenge of the  ultra race this year from following and watching the race last year.
The race was so well organised and the sheer buzz on the roads watching the race and among the riders was amazing to watch.
We hope with the right amount of training we will get around the route in one piece!

Keith O’Donnell – Solo Rider

Back again for another crack at this great event this year. Having started cycling a few years ago I took my 1st foray into an Ultra event last year in the Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra. Having cycled various sportives for a few of years around Donegal and competing in the likes of the Wicklow 200, I wanted to push the boat and try something that was way out of the comfort zone. This certainly did the trick. Not knowing what to expect I entered the event with the intention of finishing the event in under 40 hours. I did so in just over 27 hours. Hopefully the target this year is to be quicker than this and my aim is to complete the event in under 24 hours if I can.
The importance of your support crew and nutrition in an event like this is paramount as the crew will keep you right and keep you from making any mistakes. Also eating right and keeping well hydrated is essential.
The cycling route is amazing covering the most iconic climbs and scenery Donegal has to offer. This said there is a grueling 555kms to cover with around 6000mtrs of climbing to test even the strongest.
All I can say is what an experience it was. Its a superb event and very well run. You really get the feeling of being involved in something really special and I can see this event going from strenght to strenght and being one of the major Ultra Events around for years to come. A credit to Shaun Stewart and Sean Mc Fadden and the work they have done and looking forward to being involved in the event again this year.



Declan Rafferty – Solo Rider

Ding, Ding – round 2!

 2016 solo finisher of DAWUR in what was my 1st attempt at an Ultra Cycling event. This was an amazing mental and physical battle around the roads of my home county with many lessons learned along the way. 555km and 6000m+ of ascent is no easy task but put the work in and this is certainly achievable. Back with my hardworking crew in 2017 to exorcise some demons and find some more.

Lastly, if there are any newbies taking this on for the 1st time who are looking for some advice or maybe folks sitting on the fence over whether to take it on or not, then feel free to get  in touch if you think I can help in any way.



 Mick Walsh – Solo Rider

I’m excited to race back in Ireland at the Donegal Wild Atlantic Way Ultra. I lived in Dublin for the first 28 years of my life and now call Seattle home. I raced in Ireland in the 80s, but missed a few years when I moved to the US. I raced here in the Northwest of America for 15 years, still do some road racing, but started focusing on Ultra Racing in 2007. I like to ride with the Seattle Randonneurs too, Audax events.
I’ve competed in The Race Across the West, Solo and 2 Man, also Race Across Oregon, Furnace Creek 508 and Silver State 508. I’ve also done 600 and 1200k brevets with the Randonneurs.
My wife Martha will be traveling with me, but not crewing, it’s an unwritten rule of Ultra Racing 😊 I will have my trusty crew chief, who’s crewed most of the above events, Paul Clement coming with me. He’s bringing his family for a holiday after the race.

I know I will be well taken care of with Paul and my brother Paddy, who came with me to Hawaii in 1983 when I became the first Irish Finisher at Ironman in Kona, Hawaii.
My nephew Carl will also be crewing. And he has great experience mountain climbing.

I hope that Donegal will be out in all it’s beauty for the race, I won’t get a chance to see the course before the event, but I have ridden up Mamore Gap a couple of times, so I know what to expect there. I will be happy if I can be the best I can, finishing is always the main goal, but would like to finish strong too.

Looking forward to June!


Team Triquads – Four Person Team

Emma Mc Gee, Catherine Regan, Triona Nic Meanaman & Lisa Dalton

We are four members of 24/7 triathlon club in Letterkenny and are up for a new challenge!

4 female Duathletes/triathletes from 24/7 with a combination of experience racing on land and water all around Ireland.

Emma has raced in the Ultra last year as a family team and keen to take on the challenge of an all female team for 2017.

Lisa has years of triathlon racing under her belt also competing in the Half Iron Man Distance.

Triona also racing triathlons for the past few years and is going to swap her surf board for her bike in June.

Catherine is a keen duathlete and runner just completing her first marathon in October.

We all want to take on Donegal Ultra for the challenge and a good chance to tackle all the hills of Donegal. We think it will be great training motivation to be part of a team!

We want to train hard and race hard….challenge the other ladies teams to become the first ladies team to finish the ultra.


Two Square Wheels – Eight Person Team

The two square wheels are an eight person mixed team of mixed ability and mixed cycling experience,
consisting of, Frances Friel, Terence Friel, Bridged Friel, Joe Boyce, Shirley Boyce, Zara Heron, Garvan Patterson and Ciaran Boyle.
Garvan and Ciaran have taken part in many cycling events and sportives including adventure races, the lap of the lough and even as far as being half of the first all Donegal team to compete and complete the race around Ireland back in 2014.
Bridged has competed in multiple adventure races, sportives and GaleForce and Tour de Connemara.
Frances, Shirley and Joe started cycling last spring as part of training for the multiple adventure races last summer.
Zara has just started cycling again the first week of this year, after two years off.
And as for my self I am only a leisure cyclist i just enjoy getting out for a few km on a Sunday morning.
It was Frances who came up with the idea and just cornered everyone else, who all agreed to join for the fun of it.
From the start of 2017 with all of us living in Ramelton we meet every Sunday for a cycle in a bid to improve our fitness and prep for the challenge ahead hoping to make our race in under 39 hours 59 mins!
See you all in June.

Terence Friel
Team Captain
Two Square Wheels


Tony Keane – Solo Rider

I am very excited to be taking part in the DAWUR 2017. This will be my first ultra distance event and to make it to the finish with a bit of time to spare will be my number 1 goal.
I mainly compete in Duathlon events, and try to do as many sportives as possible along with charity cycles. I really enjoy long solo rides with plenty of climbing so its probably only a natural progression to take part in events like this one. My main reason for entering this event is to challenge myself and go out of my comfort zone plus i think it would be a huge achievement to complete. Looking forward to meeting other riders and crews and having a bit of craic.I expect the DAWUR to be toughest thing I will do on the bike and also for my crew of inlaws and friends.
Really looking forward to this event and training for it.


Damien McKay – Solo Rider

I have been cycling for several years now and generally choose an event each year to keep me focused and motivated, giving me something to work to. Being a business owner, I find getting out on the road at evenings and weekends helps me deal with the day to day pressures and challenges. It’s great for keeping focused.

The biggest cycling challenge I have been involved in was a 4-day 400-mile cycle from Mizen Head to Malin Head a few years back and have taken part in several adventure races such as the Coastal Cancer Challenge, Extreme North Events & 10k runs since then.

I believe in a holistic approach in preparing for a race – preparation is not just about putting up miles on the bike. So for me, it’s  extremely important to include nutrition, strength and conditioning, and to have the right crew there for support. My main sponsor is HD McKay Consulting Engineers – the Letterkenny business I own and run – and I’ll be hoping for lots of support from my staff! They provide invaluable support to my business year round, covering everything from pre-purchase surveys, insurance and building defects cases, to commercial building projects.

I noticed this event advertised last year and regretted not taking part, so decided early on that I wasn’t going to miss it this year. I haven’t taken part in an event like this before and I am really looking forward to the challenge. Plus, it gives me the opportunity to spend a couple of days on the bike without feeling guilty (fellow cyclists will know what I mean) around the most beautiful scenery this County offers.

Being my first event of this magnitude my primary goal is to really enjoy the event and finish in a reasonable time……hopefully with hours to spare!


Team Donaghey Motorhomes & Van Centre – Eight Person Team

Pat Brady, Martin Donnelly, Anne Robinson, Liam Tinney.

Pat Brady is an ideas man – most of them good. ‘Yeah, sure we’ll get a few together and do the Donegal Ultra Cycle?’. ‘Good thinking’ said Tinney, ‘Donnelly’s a beast on the hills – grab him. Robinson flew it before too, sure it’ll be a breeze!!’…….and on and on went life on easy-street!!
Two weeks later they sat down to look at the route map…..Kinnego Bay, Mamore Gap, Knockalla, Horn Head, Glengesh……faces whitened a ‘little’!
By now though, Brady had set the trap and signed up team sponsors, Donaghey Motorhomes and Van Centre, Letterkenny, to make sure no-one was for backing out!
All members of Letterkenny’s 24/7 Triathlon Club, amongst the team are marathon runners, triathletes, a former rugby player, half-Iron men competitors & 5 Km race specialists…..that said none are under any illusions about the scale or immense difficulty of the challenge ahead (or about just how different the Wild Atlantic Way looks at 4am in pitch-dark wind and rain)!
The team’s ambition for the race is to give it absolutely everything and see where that takes them (as well as having the best looking race vehicles thanks to www.donagheymotorhomes.ie!)
Though talk of a January beer ban was wildly exaggerated the team are excited and seriously committed to getting to the start line at the Mount Errigal Hotel in good shape – training is well underway.


 Kenny Gillespie – Solo Rider

Only started cycling in November 2015 to build up a decent level of fitness and really got into it. Done Glenties harvest 120km and completed WAAR last year. To say im venturing into unknown territory is an understatement but I am intrigued by the thought of these ultra cycles
Reasons for doing it would be the sense of achievement in completing it and setting a good example to my kids. I genuinely don’t know what to expect in this but i suppose thats part of what makes it what it is! To complete the 555km in under the 40 hours around my home county with some of my family to greet me at the finish would give me a great sense of pride. Good luck to all involved!


Janet Conlon – Solo Rider

I have been cycling for 4-5 years now, taking in sportives such as Lap the Lough, The Ring of Kerry and The Wicklow 200.

The longest solo endurance type cycle I have competed was a 230km spin from Louth to Galway, this I thoroughly enjoyed although it was practically pan flat and during daylight hours.

For the past few years I have been fascinated by the RAI, following it on live tracker and wondering if it was for me.

Then I came across DAWUR and thought this ticks all the boxes, an Ultra cycle with night-time cycling and a few hills thrown in for good measure. That been said, I realise this is going to be my greatest challenge yet on a bike, with a distance of 555km and just over 6000m to climb, all within 40 hours. This is going to take me way outside my comfort zone both mentally and physically but then if you never try you never succeed

So with this being my first Ultra distance event my main aim is to complete it still smiling within the time allowed, anything else will be a bonus. Roll on June, I can’t wait!


Tir Chonaill Pups – Four Person Team

Team 3 – Tir Chonaill Pups.

These four claim to be and are the quietest team of the TC Gap teams entering DAWUR and maintain that they will let their cycling do the talking.
Queen of the mountains on last years team Mairead Cranley conquered (with no stops half way up !) Mamore Gap, Atlantic Drive and Glengesh legs of the race.
The most fully blooded Tir Chonaill gap member and the daddy of the team Denis McCrudden who suffered from jet lag in last years event but we have no doubt that he will be refuelled and finish the strongest on the day.
His neighbour Declan Brennan will be looking to find his feet early in the race and kick on showing a clean pair of heels to the opposition.
The Boy racer of the team Peter McGee who has raced in the north, south, completed Ras Dun na nGall three times and has cycled 8 stages of the Ras with race the Ras. His true strength was shown on Malin head and horn head last year, till he got a few carrots along the way… We just hope the team car can keep up with Peter this year!


Tir Chonaill Highlanders – Four Person Team

Team 2 – Tir Chonaill Highlanders
Our newest member and secret weapon Cecilia Holden is looking forward to climbing some of Donegals finest hills for the very first time.
Last years solo finisher of the DAWUR 16 Francis Furey believes him and his team have the perfect blend to succeed in the DAWUR 17 challenge. Francis’s strength is not only on the bike he competed in WAAR and is a keen runner.
The experience for top racer and cycling guru Felix Jackson (team captain) who completed a tour of the French Alps last year is well ready to conquer the mountains of Donegal’s west coast.
King of the hills Michael McKeown cycled the Cork to Donegal charity cycle inside 24hrs and trained hard all winter on the the mountain bike, watch out Mamore Gap.


Tir Chonaill Free Wheelers – Four Person Team

Team 1 – Tir Chonaill Free Wheelers
This quartet all completed last years ultra race on different teams and are by far the most improved cyclists in the club in the last few years.
Reported to be the youngest Tir Chonaill team they’ll be out to prove a point that youth will prevail.
Following a very strong performance on last years victorious team Helen McNeilis is looking forward to the challenge of the extra kilometres.
Distance won’t be a problem for Charlie McMonagle who completed a 600km cycle from Cork to Donegal inside 24hrs last year.
Alan Breslin who made a successful debut in racing last year will be looking to build on his success with his 4 man team in last years event.
Our club chairman James Griffin will be leading by example and using the experience of last years event to bring his young team home successfully.


Errigal Dreamers – Four Person Team

Mary Harkin, Siobhan Bigger, Carmel Boyle & Elaine Wilkin.

We have all been cycling for a couple of years now as leisure cyclists, taking part in some sportives like Lap the lough and the Hills of Donegal 100 mile tour and adventure races like Mulroy adventure races and waar. Although we have known each other for a while we really only came together as a cycling group while on our club cycling holiday in Mallorca last April. We all share a love of cycling especially cycles that involves coffee stops with a cream bun or two.!!
We are doing the Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra Race because we were gently persuaded to “give it a go“ by some other club and family members. We feel it will be a new and a different kind of a challenge for us to do. The distance of 555k involving 6000m of climbing and night cycling to be completed in a time of 40 hours will be taking us out of our comfort zones. We are used to cycling in groups so to be cycling as individuals during the race will be a challenge for us also mentally.
Now that the decision is made to do this challenge, we are looking forward to it with some anticipation and excitement. It’s hard to know what to expect in the unknown. To complete it will be an achievement that we will be proud of and hopefully our families and children will be proud of also. We want to enjoy it as much as is possible and hopefully when we cross the finish line we will have made some unforgettable memories to carry with us.


 Hughie Gallagher – Solo

Hi my name is Hughie Gallagher from Gweedore, I’m a Grandad on the wrong side of 50 and I’ve been cycling for 22 years. I’ve always liked taking part in sportives all over the country, from the Tour of Inishowen, and Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive to the An Post Rebel Tour in Cork and the Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford.

My previous endurance cycling experience includes cycling Mizen to Malin solo in under 24 hours, doing a 24 hour cycle on a training bike at Relay for Life,and cycling the perimeter of County Donegal in 2015 – 680 km which took me 32.5 hours.

Now two years older, but none the wiser, I’ve signed up to take part in this great event, that I missed out on last year due to doing a charity event at home.

I can’t stress enough the importance of timing, where nutrition and hydration are concerned, throughout the cycle, and this is where a good support crew is paramount.

I know that cycling through the aptly named “Hills of Donegal” is one of the toughest routes you’ll encounter, especially the beast they call Mamore but it is also one of the most scenic and I’m delighted that the route takes us through my own parish of Gweedore.

My expectations for the ultra is to finish safely, I’m not a fast cyclist so I’m not expecting any spectacular finish time, just so long as we all finish in one piece and still smiling!

Good luck to everyone, I’m really looking forward to it.


Meehan Brothers – Two Person Team

Kieran and Conor Meehan, brothers from Donegal.

This will be our first try at an ultra-cycling event but we both have been cycling a number of years.

We have completed Mizen to Malin over 3 days and have done some of the longer sportives in Ireland either individually or together (Wicklow 200, Inishowen 100, Yeats 200 etc).

We decided to take on the event to represent the club and also challenge ourselves both mentally and physically, while also seeing the majority of the county in the process.

Since it is our first event like this, we will be aiming to get around in a respectable time and “enjoy” the experience while we go!


Johnny Kane – Solo

Hi, my name is Johnny Kane, and I have been cycling for about 6 years now. I enjoy longer runs and I like to challenge myself. I have done the lap of the lough and the wicklow 200 several times now, but this is my first time to do the Ultra. I am really looking forward to the Challenge, and my main goal is to just finish the race in the time allocated and to do it safely.


 Cappagh – The Descenders – Four Person Team

Greg Bradley, Siobhan Kee, Eoghan Menamin & Adrian Dobbs.

A new challenge with a difference and each member just want to do their best, the Team quote is “Pain is Temporary, it may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever” The less experienced of the 3 Cappagh Teams and it’s been agreed that the team bus will drop everyone home and them come back and pick up “The Descenders”
Team Leader – Greg Bradley
• Greg (Le’Monde) Bradley, cycling for a few years ‘on and off’ – more ‘off’ than ‘on’ ! Having completed WAAR in 2016 along with a cycle across Ireland he feels that this challenge is within his grasp! In fact, he has re-entered WAAR to use a platform to build on for the Ultra Race, having decided early on that he will take on the mammoth task of all the main descents has rightly named the team accordingly. Whats lost in ability will be made up for in determination.
• Siobhan (the Stabiliser) Kee – Cycling only for 2 years but is mad keen for the tar! Has competed in many endurance challenges along with cycling Grand Fondo and completed training camps in Mallorca, strong team member and strong asset to the team and is keen to get back to cycle Mamore Gap!
• Eoghan (The Climber) Menamin, very tactical team move here by the team captain as you will see in the team photo this man is made for the hills! Started cyling when he stopped smoking 2 years ago and already has a 24hr challenge and a 100mile under his belt, mad keen for the next big hill (will see if he says the same at the end of June), main goal for the future is to complete an Iron Man!
• Adrian (The Block) Dobbs – Another key Descender within the team and has promised to be in top form for this challenge and will reach the levels set previously on his cycle from Cork to Carrickmore a few years ago! Keen cyclist with 18years experience and raring to get at the roads around Donegal!


Cappagh – The 4 ‘C’s – Four Person Team

Ciaran McBride, Cait McDaid, Chris Carlin & Collie Devine

Each member of this Team is very experienced cyclist ranging from various sporting background. On asked why this race the reply simply was “It’s the best way to see Donegal & the main aim is not to get lost” – As the second Cappagh team they definitely will not want to left wanting. They asked the people of Donegal “If you see me on the ground! could you please Brush me off and put me back on my bike! Thanks “
Team Leader – Ciaran McBride
• Ciaran (The True Sportsman) McBride has pure leadership skills and will be hungry to make his team perform to the maximum of their capabilities, Ciaran has been training in the early hours of the morning around Killyclogher just waiting for the right challenge to arrive and now it has! A great Team Leader on and off the pitch.
• Robo “Cait” (neeMcDaid) – Someone that anyone would want on their team and Ciaran has picked wisely as Cait is well used to tough cycling challenges having cycled to Lourdes a number of times with IHCPT, strong team member and strong asset to the team!
• Chris (the retired triathlete) Carlin, once again a tactical team choice by Ciaran as the experience that Chris has will be invaluable to the team, he has been working nights for the last 2 years! Having more come backs than Status Quo (this being one of them) and also has cycled most of the Alpine Cols.
• Collie (Barry Sheen) Devine – A very keen (motor) cyclist and Triathlete, Collie is used to endurance events and will compete to the best of his ability living up to his Iron Man status!


Cappagh – Wheels of Steel – Four Person Team

Enda Harper, Gavin Turner, Collie Turner & Roger Harkness

Each member of this Team are seasoned “pro’s” who are once again trying to prove themselves, this has been a difficult task over the years and you will see it’s taken its toll. On asked why they are taking part the reply is that the want a “New challenge with a difference” and they just want to “Do their best” but really they will be tramping their way around the roads of Dún na nGall looking to hemmer the other 2 Cappagh Teams !
Team Leader – Enda Harper
• Enda (the road) Harpur has had more clubs than Tiger Woods. Enda has excellent leadership skills and is the most experienced cyclist in the group and is well known around the Churchill area for his grounding of young cycling talent’s. With over 50 years experience under his belt and more miles than Judith Chalmers he is well ready to lead the charge on this challenge.
• Gavin (the Mountain Goat) Turner is a Natural born climber and keen outdoor persuitist. With a strong background in Mountain Biking and Mountaineering Gavin is a worthy addition to any team and will no doubt make short work of “Glengesh pass”
• Collie (the master tactician) Meenagh, Big Collie loves a challenge and having cyled the length and breadth of Ireland in various sportives he now is concentrating on the Hills of Donegal. With a strong competitive edge which will benefit the team greatly.
• Roger (the racer) Harkness is a very competitive Tri-athlete with a strong Road Racing background, with having competed in many cycling events previously will no doubt prove to be a vital cog of this well-oiled machine.


Kilmac Peddlers – Two Person Team

Cathal Gorman & Sandra Devine

This will be our first attempt at an ultra event and are both relishing the challenge. We both considered going in the solo event, but thought better of it (maybe next year!)
We have both been cycling for more than ten years. We’ve completed alot of the local sportives and indeed quite a few futher afield over the years. We have completed mizen to malin in the past. That would be the closest that we would have come to an ultra type event. Sandra has represented Ulster in the Ras Mban international stage race in the recent past.
We have probably covered most of the course over the years, so we know what’s in store, tough unforgiving roads and the elements to add into the mix. Neither of us have done much night cycling. We will hope to incorporate that into our training plan.
We don’t have any aspirations in terms of competing for honours. We just hope to get around the course in one piece and make a decent account of ourselves.
Events like this are a great showcase for our county and hopefully it will grow year on year.


An Post LK – Four Person Team

Paul Herrity, Paul Crampsie & Martin Mc Ginley

All the team are keen cyclists for the last number of years using the sport to keep a level of fitness. We would take part in a few sportive, Sligo- letterkenny. We are organisers of the An Post Tadgh Culbert annual cycle Dungloe/ Letterkenny in honour of our ex colleague in aid of the Donegal hospice. Raising over €50000 over the years. Paul Crampsie is also a keen adventure racer. Paul Herrity & Martin Mc Ginley completed Mizen to Malin a few years ago.
We are looking forward to the training and the challenge of this type of race with an optimistic expectations to finish somewhere mid table.


Hardy Backs – Two Person Team

Terence Gallagher & Garvan Mulligan

Lots of experience, however no Granddad status, yet! We’ve been cycling since 2011 and we’ve done pretty much all of the sportive around the county, so we know the route pretty well. We’ve competed in a lot of adventure races, sportives and the odd cycling race so we are pretty experienced at endurance events, but our experience has a ceiling of 7 hours and no longer, so this will definitely push us way past anything we’ve done before.

We’ve entered this on the back of a few pints in our local, which is how we enter most things that require a bit of madness. Ted recently received a new hip so we thought this event would be a good test to see if it’s a good fit.

In all honesty, we wanted a goal that would really challenge us and after seeing the success of the event last year, it was an easy choice. We’d like to finish in a respectable place, and that is to finish it within the 40 hour limit (and beat a few teams along the way off course).

No doubt this will be hard, and the hardest event we’ve done to date. But like anything we do, we’re looking forward to having some craic and banter with the other teams/soloists which should keep us all going through the night, nothing like a bit of goading to keep the incentive!

“Mix a little fun with a serious plan” – Quote by the Hardy backs!


Wild Atlantic Warriors – Four Person Team

Clive Burns, Albert Clasby, Aidan Hegarty & Odhran Morrow

We are a group of cyclists, all living close to Sligo/Mayo border, and are members of the local Ballina Cycling Club. We have been cycling together for the last 3/4 years. We are leisure cyclists and have not competed in any major events.
Clive and Aidan have competed in Duathlon events (Clive) and Mountain bike/cycle cross events (Aidan) in the last couple of years.
Aidan completed a charity cycle in 2016 of the Wild Atlantic Way, with assistance from the team members and others from the Club, raising a considerable amount for the Stroke Unit of Sligo Hospital. We are of similar ability and have all completed long organised sportives of up to 170km in the last few years
Late in 2016 we decided we wanted a challenge for 2017, something special that we could work towards during the whole cycling season, and took the plunge into the deep end and entered the spectacular “Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra”and the mighty “Race Around Ireland”.
We made a plan in November 2016, and asked for assistance from a local Coach Simon Walsh and Gym owner and operator Paul Ginty.
Simon will devise a cycling training plan for the year in the run up to the Races and Paul will help with gym work for core strength etc.
This is new ground for us all and we are looking forward to the challenge ahead

* Clive Burns, Easkey, Co Sligo
Clive lives in Easkey and has been cycling for the last 5 years. He may be the smallest of the group but is a strong cyclist and lightening quick. He will definitely make his presence felt (and heard) in the group and is always up for a laugh and a joke!

* Albert Clasby, Enniscrone Co Sligo
Albert lives in Enniscrone and is the oldest in the group (by a margin), but as they say “never underestimate an old man on a bike”. He has been cycling for approx 3 years and is determined to give the young lads a run for their money!!

* Aidan Hegarty, Templeboy Co Sligo
Aidan is from Templeboy and has experience of the Wild Atlantic Way, completing the 2,400km solo, with support in 2016. He has only been cycling approx 3 years, so this was a great achievement and his experience will help the team greatly for this years events.

* Odhran Morrow, Foxford, Co Mayo
Odhran lives in Foxford Co Mayo, but we don’t hold that against him!. That’s because he is originally from Derry! Odhran is the “strong man of the team”, and with his strong Derry accent to match he will make his presence felt within the team. He has been cycling the longest of the group (approx 5 years).


Jim Cuttriss – Solo Rider

My name is Jim Cuttriss, Age 48 from Blarney in Cork.
First of all, I’m really excited about participating in the DAWUR, what a way to see Donegal’s beauty.
I’m new to cycling, coming from a rugby background having played right through from underage to representing Munster
U18’s,U20’s and senior levels.
Having finished playing rugby I had a 5 year period of no training leading me to becoming unfit. Finally I said feck this, what activity will I engage in to get back my fitness, at the time my brother Donncha was participating in ultra-cycling, so I decided in 2012 to start cycling. This worked a treat but then I needed to be challenged hence I participated in the solo category RAI 2014 & 2016, what an amazing adventure! but I didn’t receive that finishers medal.
So in my preparation for RAI 2018 I will be doing DAWUR 2017 & 2018 along with other 24hr events overseas. Luckily I have my loyal crew of Robert Hales “Amicus restaurant” and Steve Stones Moloney sports Therapist who will support me on my journey. On this occasion my family are also travelling to Donegal to encourage me, what an incentive having my 2daughters Megan and Abbie ,son James and my wife Fiona supporting me along the route and hopefully at the finish winning the race, Only joking! Just finishing the race will make me very Happy.
See you all at the Starting line.


Armagh Down CC – Team A – Four Person Team

One of five teams entered into this year’s race by our cycling club, Armagh Down CC, Team A is made up of four men who love a good sportive!

Between us, Cathal O’Hare, Chris McGinley, Terry McStravick and Mark White have ridden many of Ireland’s finest sportives, including the Gran Fondo, Causeway Coastal, Wicklow 200, Lap of the Lough, Inishownen 100, and now, in search of a new challenge, we have decided to try an ultra-event so are looking forward to the Donegal 555.

The training is already well underway and the aims are: 1.) to beat the other Armagh Down teams; 2.) Survive Mamore Gap; 3.) Finish well under 40 hours!

What started out as a challenge to finish the course has now become an inter-club competition to see which Armagh Down CC team is crowned the fastest 555km finishers of 2017! Good luck to everyone taking part, see you all on the start line.


Dermot Healy – Solo Rider

Hi my name is Dermot and I am 41 years old. I started cycling 5 years ago when a friend was telling me about it and how much he was enjoying it so I decided to give it a go. I started by joining a local cycling club on their weekend spins. I got the bug quickly and started devoting more and more time to training and eventually started racing with the Drogheda Wheelers in 2015. I raced A4 and within a few weeks I progressed to A3.

I found I enjoyed the longer spins & I have done the Wicklow 200 over the last few years. My biggest feats to date have been the solo ride from Meath to Donegal to a friends wedding & again a solo ride to Kerry to do the Ring of Kerry the following day. I found I enjoyed the longer cycles & that’s when I started to consider endurance cycling. I am looking forward to participating in this challenge and hopefully completing it in one piece.


Team Daly – Four Person Team

Mark Daly, Hugo Daly, Luke Daly, Michael Black

The three Daly brothers and brother in-law Michael are looking forward to their first ever ultra cycle. We are not the most experienced team in cycling events but looking forward to what Donegal throws at us.

Mark has completed multiple marathons across Europe from Dublin to Barcelona and has recently taken up adventure racing, not alot of cycling experience but has a tank full of endurance and he reckons he eats pain for breakfast.

Hugo also a marathon runner and a well known face in Letterkenny 24/7 triathlon club, a great multi-displinary work horse to have on the team.

Luke is a keen cyclists and is no stranger to multi sport endurance races after completing TheRace 2016.

Michael needs no introduction with many achievements and a mantle piece any athlete would be proud of. A coach for triathlon Ireland his great work ethic and endurance experience will keep the Daly boys on the straight and narrow.

A big thank you to Kearnans Spar for sponsoring us in the DAWUR.

Bring on the Hills Of Donegal!



Team Communicare – Two Person Team

Peter O’Donnell & Michael Flood

A friendship that started almost 10years ago in our youthful college days has eventually lead us to this ‘good idea’ in taking on the DAWUR as a Donegal/Monaghan duo.

Taking it on a as 2 man makes it seems slightly more appealing and maybe a more realistic achievement for both of us.

We are fairly new to the sport and are keen to gain experience and take on new challenges. This cycle will undoubtedly test both mind and body as well as our tactics and teamwork. Expectation wise we’ll be focused solely on completing the challenge and anything after that will be a bonus for us.

We would also like to thank our proud sponsor Communicare Health Care, for their motivation and genuine support towards this event.

Communicare Healthcare is an Irish owned, nurse led company that offers a range of specialised care services across Ireland.

A fantastic multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, working 365 days a year delivering services into private homes, hospitals, residential care facilities and hostels.

Let’s get pedalling…..


Michael Russell – Solo Rider

Michael is back again in 2017 and will no doubt put in a solid performance over the 555km. A “Man of the Rás”, Mickey has the mental toughness and grit to conquer the Donegal hills!


Team 3PK – Four Person

Paul Dillon, Killian Nulty, Patrick McNulty & Patrick Patton.

We are four triathletes from 24/7 Triathlon club in Letterkenny. Between us we have a lot of triathlon and endurance racing experience. 3PK members have competed in quadrathons, Gaelforce Northwest, Shadowman, Dublin Half Ironman, Challenge Galway, endurance swims and countless sprint and Olympic distance triathlons.
Donegal Ultra Cycle offers something different, providing us with the opportunity to take our biking to a different level. We don’t underestimate the challenge as we tackle those Donegal hills every week. Training is well underway and the goal on 23rd June is to push ourselves to the limit and beyond. Big thanks in advance to Patrick McNulty who has volunteered to do all the hills. Good man Patrick! We’ll make sure to divide up the remaining 20k equally between us.


The Cookie Monsters – Four Person

Noel Hoey, Martin O Halloran, Aidan Ferguson & Eamon Mc Cafferty

Noel Hoey has completed several of the An Post Cycle Sportives, Donegal Bay Cycle,Triathlons including Half Ironman distance, also half and full marathons,plus Metal man swim series in Sligo .He was also on the crew for Mizen to Malin cycle in 24 hours.

Martin O Halloran – Top runner for Tirchonaill A.C : in his youth he represented Ireland at underage. Since then he has completed several marathons and half marathons .He also enters triathlons for MSC Tri Club and has taken part in An Post Cycle series.

Aidan Ferguson – Cycled from Mizen to Malin in 24 hours ,was part of a four person team that completed the Race around Ireland. Completed the bike on the Groomsport iron man distance relay team, and has taken part in the An Post Cycle series.

Eamonn Mc Cafferty – Raced triathlons in the eighties when a pair of speedos was your Tri suit. Completed an Ironman in Holland in the eighties and in Ireland in the noughties, he races sprint Triathlons every weekend in the summer. He has cycled this years Donegal Bay Sportive and has completed several of the An Post Cycles.

Our reason for entering the Ultra, out for a few pints over Christmas and by the end of the night we drank ourselves into a challenge.

Our expectations for the ultra – To finish within the time and a have a laugh along the way ,its going to be a great bit of craic [and pain].


Clanrye Lighting 555 – Four Person

Our team is a four person all of which who are regular and seasoned cyclists and each year take on several of the larger NI & ROI sportives (Giant’s Causeway, Gran Fondo, Lap of the Lough, Wicklow 200 etc…). We all separately entered the world of cycling as a hobby / keep-fit having since taken our enjoyment in more specific area’s of the sport:

Ryan Sheppard – Experience in Club Racing and first year TT racing, participation in several annual sportives of 60-125miles

Stephen Sheppard – Started cycling several years ago to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis Charities and continued to support annual sportives of 60-125mile ever since

Philip Patterson – Experience in Club Racing, participation in several annual sportives of 60-125miles

Mark O’Neill – Regular Sportive Cyclist of 60-125miles

Shaun Doran – Soigneur

Our team has entered as one of several Armagh Down Cycling Club entries and we’re hoping to put our training to the test achieving a good finishing time and most importantly taking the bragging rights over the teams of our fellow club mates!

Sponsor: Clanrye Lighting & Electrical Supplies – a Lighting and Electrical Wholesaler situated in Newry, Co. Down with both domestic and international fulfilment through their ecommerce website: ideas4lighting.com

Clanrye Lighting 555 Photoedited

Eloise & Kerry – Two Person Team

Novice female endurance cyclists, Eloise Devaney and Kerry Mc Donagh, have paired up to take part in the Donegal Ultra race, having both met only two years ago whilst training as psychotherapists, hence the name! The Ultra is a momentous challenge for the pair in comparison with the handful of triathlons they have competed in.

A newcomer to Sligo Triathlon Club, Kerry (originally from Ederney, Co Fermanagh) only started competing in triathlons last year, yet has already completed an Olympic distance event, although in terms of cycling it only consisted of 40 km, a far cry from 555km! Kerry will be competing in an open water swim festival in Spain prior to the Donegal Ultra.

A past member of Belpark Triathlon Club in Dublin, Eloise (from Crossroads, Killygordon ) recently joined MSC Tri Club on relocating from Dublin where she lived for 19 years. She has completed several sprint tri’s, one Olympic and several open water races.

Cycling is certainly not a strong discipline for the pair which makes the Ultra even more challenging, however they are not taking the task lightly and have taken on an arduous training plan which finds them at the gym or on the bikes at 5am and sometimes late into the night. It certainly wont be determination which prevents these two ladies from completing the Ultra.

Both are very aware of how severely they will be tested physically, emotionally and mentally, with this in mind they have chosen to join in the conversation around mental health awareness and have chosen two very important charities; Pieta House, who will be opening soon in Letterkenny and Acquired Brain Injury Ireland who have a residential unit in Sligo to help people who have had brain surgery/injury in the North West.

Join in their journey by Liking their Facebook page Cyclo Therapists and keep up to date on how their training progresses in the lead up to Donegal Ultra Race where there will be regular updates on how they get on during the event.


Team Flight of the Earls – Four Person

James Mc Laughlin, Damien Rogers, Liam Mc Laughlin & Mickey Crossan

We are four very long time friends who thought we would give the Donegal Ultra 555 a go…it’ll be a new challenge and its on our doorstep so why not! And thanks to Calor Gas for sponsoring some very nice kit we should look like cyclists too !!

James Mc Laughlin
I don’t have a lot of experience on biking alone but I do know a wee bit about endurance events having ran 30 marathons in the passed 2 years and completed 2 ultra marathons.
I just completed the race and I am lead to believe that this is a reasonable achievement ,so I thought I would give the 555k ago. Two reason for getting involved in the wild Atlantic way 555k, Mickey Crossan said we would go to Spain for a weeks cycling in preparation for the event and Damian Rogers said he would do all the climbs ,so with them kind offers I figure it it worth a go.

Damien Rogers
Have been doing adventure races the last 10 years all over the country. Have done all of the local Donegal races culminating with a finish in “The Race 2017 ” this year.
It was great to hear of this new event last year and the perfect setting of the WAW Donegal on my door step. Have done 2 long distance cycle charity events – 250k – Dublin to Milford in 2014 & 400k – Mitchelstown to Milford 2016. Looking forward to this event with a great 4 team, craic will be good !!!

Liam Mc Laughlin
Played soccer for 30 years. Took up biking with Rathmullan Cycling Club a few years ago and started running a few 5k/10k to keep fit. Started to do all local adventure races 3 years ago. I’ve also taken part in a few charity cycles: Sligo to Letterkenny and 400k charity cycle 2016 as well as “The Race 2017”
Enjoy a good challenge and me being the oldest i thought i’d show these young fellas how its done !!

Mickey Crossan
Took up cycling 2 years ago , took a while to get the bug but well and truly have it now !! Done a good lot of the longer sportifs and really enjoyed them. Like competing to the best of my ability so no better place than the “hills of Donegal” Another plus is me being the novice these other 3 said the would do all the hills and leave the flat stuff to me … oh and the promise of a night out after appeals too.
Roll on June 23rd!


Team Tegral Endurance – Four Person

Niall Griffin, Ronan Mc Garvey, Maurice Mc Bride & Eugene Mc Cafferty.

Team Tegral Endurance is sponsored by Tegral, Ireland’s leading manufacturer of roofing and cladding products who take their name from the recently released Thrutone Endurance Slates.

The Gweedore based team have all been cycling for a number of years and also compete in sportives, charity cycles and local adventure races. The team is captained by Tegral Sales Executive Maurice Mc Bride with Niall Griffin, Ronan Mc Garvey and Eugene Mc Cafferty the other members taking part. The aim of the team is to to enjoy the challenge of this unique event and get back to the finish line in one piece without too many arguments along the way.

The Tegral Products are proven to have endurance, it’s now over to the cyclists to prove they have the same endurance.



Ultra Cycling 555km of Donegals Wild Atlantic Way

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