June 17, 2019

Looking for something competitive to do in February (and get a weekend away)? Here’s a few ideas

Feeling the urge for a bit of competition in the coming month? We’ve got you covered with these few suggestions.

Here, we’ve gone for cycling in west Clare, running through mud in north Dublin or doing your first duathlon – and having an excuse to head down to Cork.

So dust off the lycra, pump up those tyres and fill up that tank.

Junior Tour Sportives

What? The Junior Tour is by far and away the best race on the Irish domestic racing calendar for 16-18 year olds. In its 35+ year history the event has attracted some of the best talent from around the world – many of whom have gone on to have long and distinguished careers.

However, the race has run into financial difficulty with the organisers announcing last year that this year’s event – and indeed the future of the race, is in jeopardy as main sponsors have withdrawn their support and there isn’t the requisite funds to run it.

Three cycling sportives have been organised this month in an effort to raise the money needed to keep the race alive.

There’s one in Dublin this Sunday (enter here) featuring 2 routes of 100 and 50 kilometres, respectively while on Saturday week there’s one in Derry, details to be found here and later in the month, there’s a third one in Whitegate, Co. Clare. Details for that can be ascertained here.

When? Sunday, 1 February (that’s tomorrow), Saturday, 8 February and Saturday, 28 February.

Where? Baldonnell, Co. Dublin and Bellaghy, Co. Derry and Whitegate, Co, Clare


Fota Island Challenge Series Sprint Duathlon

What? A duathlon is a three-part race and this event consists of a 4.8 kilometre run followed by an 18 kilometre cycle and another 4.8 kilometre run to finish.

It’s only the second year of the event but such was the success of the inaugural race in 2014 that it’s now a part of the National Series. The standard will be a real mix, with the top competitors competing for points in respective age groups, and those just out for a bitta craic having the opportunity of a good workout in a stunning location.

Registration is open the day before from 7am to 9.45 am and again from 5pm to 7pm while you can also register on the day in the Recreational Building at Fota, in close proximity to the hotel.

As the event is Triathlon Ireland sanctioned, a race license is required and the fee per participant is €39 and €75 for relay teams. There will be three different categories on the day from individual to relay teams and minimum age is 16.

When? Saturday, 28 February

Where? Fota Island, Cobh, Co. Cork


Swords Cross County Race

What?  Ballyheary Park in Swords hosts the very attractive-looking North Country Farmers Cross Country race the weekend after next and anyone over the age of 18 can enter.

The event is part of the Business Houses Athletics Association (BHAA) but you don’t need to be a BHAA member to race, you don’t need to be an employee of any business and you don’t even have to be a member of a running club to compete.

However, to race on the day as a non-member will cost you €15, as opposed to €10 if you are a member.

The event format sees two races happening on the same course with the same start time of 11.30am. The park has two fields with a wide foot bridge connecting both. The small lap involves a loop of the start/finish area field and the longer lap takes in the second field.

The ladies race is two mile course which is one small lap and one large lap. The mens race is 5 miles which involves 3 and 3/4 large laps. It should be noted that ladies are welcome to run in the longer 5 mile race if they wish to do so.

When? Saturday, 7 Feb 2015 at 11:30am

Where? The race headquarters is in Fingallians GAA , Swords. If driving it is recommended to take the M1 Motorway using the Exit 4 – Lissenhall interchange.

Check out the BHAA website for more details.

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Looking for something competitive to do in February (and get a weekend away)? Here’s a few ideas

This Wexford man walked 10,000 miles through China in 1914 to find his family

china chronicling america

DR GEORGE HADDEN was remarkable in many ways: a 7ft tall Wexford man who lived in China, a medical missionary of the Methodist faith… and a husband who apparently trekked 10,000 miles to find his lost family.

American newspapers from 100 years ago tell the fantastical tale of what happened to Dr Hadden when he became separated from his wife during riots in China, and spent years before seeing her again.

Where it all began

A look at American newspaper archives fills us in on the story the couple told when they finally met again, three years after they last saw each other.

Dr Hadden had been living in Yungchowfu for seven years with his wife when they became separated during the Shangsha riots on the Yang river.

Mrs Hadden was pregnant, and gave birth to a boy on St Patrick’s Day, who she named Patrick. This was March 1910 and little Patrick wouldn’t see his father until he was three years old.

Understandably, Dr Hadden had little idea of where his wife Helen was, and went “wandering” as the Day Book reports, for three years trying to find them.

Here’s how their story was depicted at the time:

china hadden 1

It was also covered in the Ogden Standard of Utah and in the Kennewick Courier in Washington:

china hadden 3

The Day Book reported that it was only when Dr Hadden returned to his old post at YungChowfu that he learned that his wife was in Hongkong.

However, the Rock Island Argus said that Helen Hadden (for some reason she remains unnamed in all articles) was sent with her husband’s knowledge to a different town, where she gave birth at a missionary settlement.

The Argus also said that after a year apart, Dr Hadden got in touch with his wife, and found out he had become a father.

He didn’t leave his post, however, but trekked through the country by foot until he was reunited with his spouse and child at Canton.

Fact and fiction

While Day Book reported that Dr Hadden was 7ft 4, the Argus said he was “nearly 7ft”.

While on his 10,000 mile trek, Dr Hadden must have had some incredible adventures.

In the colourful and not particularly racially-sensitive parlance of the time, the Day Book said that while walking across the fields in Kuei Yang Chow, the “natives” “looked upon him as a devil in the flesh and blood, and followed him 2,000 strong”.

Dr Hadden reported that he “walked a little faster” than usual as he was “pelted with clods of earth”.

Did the experience change the family? Perhaps these sentences tell it all:

final par

We do know that eventually, Hadden returned to Wexford – where his family were in the drapery and outfitting business – at the age of 60, where he remained until his death at the age of 91. Helen Hadden lived to the age of over 100.

No doubt their son Patrick had plenty of tales to tell his own children.

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This Wexford man walked 10,000 miles through China in 1914 to find his family