The Lost Sheep

Since its inception in 2003 it has gained a reputation both nationally and internationally as the toughest half iron distance race on the Irish triathlon circuit. Traditionally staged in late August / early September, each year the event starts with a 1900m swim in the scenic Kenmare Bay.

This is followed by an 83km cycle which takes competitors along the Wild Atlantic Way, from Kenmare out along the ring of Beara peninsula before going up and over it to the other side. This journey takes competitors over two category one climbs. Firstly, the Healy pass. On reaching the top you cross the county border from the northern Kerry half of the peninsula into the southern Cork side after just over 27km into the cycle. You now have to navigate your way down the other side with its 6 switch-switch back hairpins to test your tour de France style descending technique on what can only be described as Ireland’s answer to l’Alpe d’Huez’s 21 switch-backs. Continuing back down to the ring of Beara, through the small town of Adrigole, from here you continue on into Glengarriff. On this stretch of road, you will be treated to stunning views over Bantry bay with Sheeps Head, Whiddy Island in the background. You now face the Caha pass which will take you from Glengarriff back to Kenamre over the Caha mountains. This time at the summit the border from Cork into Kerry is marked by a dark tunnel (don’t be scared) some 150 meters long which takes you straight through the side of Baurearagh Mountain.With just over 60km of the cycle completed at this point another spectacular 6km descent awaits down into the village of Bonane. This town gets its name from Fionn Mac Cumhall, the legendary leader of the Fianna who had house here some 6,000 years ago (Both-Fhionáin or Fionn’s house, now anglicised to Bonane). The section of road here has been poor in recent years but Kerry county council have resurfaced it, so be careful not to take off, it’s like a runway now. From here it is a simple 14km mainly downhill TT back to T2. The bike course is 10km short of a ‘normal’ half iron event but ask anyone who has done it if they wanted any more.

The recently updated 21km run course is almost as challenging as the cycle! It’s quiet country roads undulate along by the river Sheen before turning back and approaching Kenmare town over more hilly terrain.  The final few kilometers of the race sweep downhill to the finish line in the heart of Kenmare town.

220Triathlon have listed The Lost Sheep as the 6th toughest half distance triathlon out there. website has listed The Lost Sheep as 4th best race to do in Ireland