Bray 10k Cliff Run In Wicklow Ireland
On Saturday I took part in the Bray 10k Cliff run, a scenic trail run in County Wicklow starting on Greystones beach and finishing on Bray promenade via the picturesque coastal path.
I had made the decision to run just a few days before, a last minute entry after searching for something active to do in the Dublin area over the Easter weekend.
I just wanted to get out for some time in the great outdoors, get some fresh coastal air, and make the most of the spring afternoon whilst staying active.
The Bray 10k was the perfect active adventure for me, time by the coast, and a good physical challenge before the Easter feast.
After teaching my early morning HIIT class and coaching clients, I had a pre-race lunch and made the short trip from Dublin across to Bray.
At registration on the promenade, I was given the official Bray 10k cliff run event T’shirt, some information on the start times, and directions to the start line in Greystones from the marshals.
I had already decided to layer up but it was a very cold day so the race T-shirt was a welcome extra layer as I made my way to the DART station.
It was packed with other race competitors some of them looking like serious athletes with their running club apparel, whilst others were more casual runners, everyone was mingling and chatting about the race, a great atmosphere.
Once In Greystones I still had 45 minutes before my selected wave start so I grabbed a pre-race coffee, sat down, gathered myself and visualised my strategy and race tactics.
After 25 minutes I was focussed and mentally prepared to run the race of my life, I stepped out of the coffee shop and joined the crowds walking towards the start point at the beach front.
The organisers started groups in 5 separate waves to accommodate everybody on the course which in places becomes incredibly narrow.
With still 20 minutes to go, I had made time for a good warm-up which was needed especially in those conditions, I went through a solid pre-race routine and finished just as our group was called. https://fitnessworldexplorer.com/marathon-warm-up-tips/
I had walked this coast path route many times at different times of year and the surroundings are amazing, but it was freezing, I was looking forward to getting the race started.
The run started at the far end of Greystones beach, the first stage was an interesting run along the sand.
Some of my fellow athletes hadn’t done the best warm-up waiting in the cold, and this coupled with a run in the heavy sand was a bit of a jolt to the system even for the accomplished runners in the group.
Everyone was very relieved and encouraging each other as we left the energy-sapping sand section.
After the gruelling beach run the route then sweeps up a steady hill along the seafront of Greystones, twists through a new residential area and meets the coast path.
I paced myself through this part as I knew we had a big incline ahead to reach the top of the cliff path.
The run from the sea level to the cliff path was indeed tough and once at the top of the incline, I took a valuable moment to look back and down to Greystones.
It’s a spectacular view, and it was literally breathtaking today as I gasped for air after the steep hill.
Narrow, uneven, and muddy paths along the top of the cliff trail made it treacherous to overtake so I held back cruised along at 6-minute mile pace and enjoyed the surroundings.
We followed the cliff top trail and rough tracks back to Bray enjoying stunning and dramatic views of the Irish sea, it was an awesome experience.
I needed to keep focus with added obstacles created by the recent fine Irish weather of rain and snow, giant puddles along the path made it slippery and the ground was made more challenging by the 1000 or so runners before me.
As we weaved around the cliffs everyone was picking up a nice steady pace and the path becomes flatter as it sweeps around into the Bray seafront.
I felt very good and I was confident of stretching out for a full power finish.
The Home Straight
As you turn the last corner of the cliff path of Bray Head you are greeted by the stunning view of Bray, the beachfront and promenade below, even though it was far off in the distance the finish line was in sight.
At this point my legs were feeling looser the surface was flatter, I was picking up speed and I was all set for opening my stride for a strong finish.
Fuelled by my last fruit pastille I swept down the hill majestically to the applause of the crowd ready to take on the flat concrete promenade at full speed.
Then I was met by the next trail run obstacle …STONES.
A Cruel twist to the course was a run along the length of Bray beach before we cut back on ourselves and the flat promenade surface.
What a finisher this was, I clearly hadn’t read all of the course details.
“This beach is a stone beach so is very uneven underfoot”
In my own head, I had pictured a steady final 800m to the finish line where I could tap into my fast twitch fibres and do some damage to the stopwatch.
I had seen Bray beach many times before but I just didn’t think running along the stones would be part of the course, I hadn’t planned this in my tactics, but I adjusted well.
All of the years of “functional training” balancing on one leg in the gym, balancing on fit balls, skipping on wobble boards and hopping on one leg finally paid off.
I had the functional strength to conquer the stones!
Uneven? It felt like I was running on Snooker balls, ha ha
Uneven, slippery, energy-sapping, painful, but a brilliant finish, very memorable and it was a big talking point after the race.
As we doubled back on ourselves it was off of the treacherous uneven running surface of the pebbled beach and onto Bray Promenade for a flat home straight, everyone was able to open their stride and push on to the finish line.
Delighted to cross the line I passed through the refreshment tent collected a delicious orange and took a moment to congratulate myself as the paparazzi snapped away.
I was greeted by what looked like an Ice cream lady handing out free tubs of Ice cream, excellent, I thought as I reached for a tub only to be told it was actually a new kind of flavoured tuna.
I was dizzy and delusional from my max effort final sprint, so I took a seat and gathered myself then congratulated others before collecting a tub of Tuna for next weeks packed lunch.
After a few minutes of cool down and stretches, I moved on from the finish line area for a well deserved beer.
I’m not a massive fan of road running, I love exercising outside but I much prefer a scenic run in the great outdoors so the Bray 10k was a perfect match for my Fitness World Explorer preferences.
The combination of varying terrain, cliff path, beach, promenade and the views made this an interesting and memorable run
My review of the Bray 10k Cliff Run is, it was a great location, a great challenge, with great views, great atmosphere and great fun.
A bit of practice is required before I can get back to my best at longer distance racing, but I really enjoyed it.
A massive well done to everybody who took part and well done to the organisers for an excellent event.
As I made my way slowly back to the DART station, reflecting on my performance and considering what other long distance cardio challenges I should partake in, I looked up the see powerful beams of light shining through the clouds as the sun was setting.
A message from above perhaps? Keeping running Lee, you were amazing today…….
Maybe I’ll do the marathon next, or even a triathlon.
Travel Tips for Fitness World Explorers
If you’re visiting the Bray/Greystones, or Dublin area definitely add this to your list of activities, the cliff walk from Bray to Greystones is one of the most popular attractions Bray has to offer, and Bray or Greystones are very easy to get to from the city centre.
Some people take the DART to Greystones and walk back to Bray, or if you feel energetic and love hiking take a walk to Greystones enjoy some lunch and hike back again.
You could catch the DART to Greystones and take this 10k cliff run route, starting from Greystones Beach to Bray Promenade via the coastal path around Bray Head with endless views of Dublin Bay.
Set off very early or be prepared to meet walkers along the way it’s a very popular route, and the track is narrow in places, the cliff path was closed for this particular cliff run.
The Cliff walk is about 7 kilometres long, from Bray bandstand to Greystones and takes about 1.30hrs -2 hours to complete, it’s suitable for all abilities.
At points the path wall is quite low with a dangerous drop on the other side, the path is well marked but the surface can vary in places, just take it steady.
Make the most of your mini adventure by taking your time, take some photos, read up on some history, spot some wildlife, or enjoy some food in either Greystones or Bray.
It’s one of my favourite walks around Dublin, it’s great for people who like a good hike, splendid views and time by the coast. Enjoy!