The 2023 Liffey Descent, in its new May date, delivered all that was hoped and more. The 62nd edition of the iconic race traced the traditional route from the K Club in Straffan Co. Kildare along 30km of the River Liffey to finish at the Garda Boat Club in Islandbridge Co. Dublin. Along the way 10 weirs and endless stunning sights ands sounds of the River Liffey awaited the competitors. All this was enhanced with some brilliant water levels on the river, with a massive thank you going to the ESB for their support in arranging the releases for the race.
With close to 500 entrants we were sure to see the tight racing and carnage that the challenge of the Liffey Descent always provides. The buzz from getting back on the start line was palpable at the K Club, with paddlers all eager to put their winter training to the test. Everyone from the top international marathon paddlers, to everyone just looking for a great day on the water played their part in creating the incredibly positive atmosphere that keeps people coming back year after year for this race. The main thing that brings people back though is still the racing, which, as always, delivered. This year gave up some record pile ups at Straffan weir, with the K2s getting caught up in some hard racing and gave the rescue crew some busy minutes getting boats and paddlers out of the water and back on track. The stunning weather played a role too in an extremely low number of abandons for the race, with peoples enthusiasm to finish this first race of the season very clear, battling home after all kinds of equipment mishaps.
At the finish line the crowd waited eagerly to see the first boat home, with Ronan Foley and Hamish Lovemore (K2 Senior) crossing the line first in a great time of 1:48.42. Outside the K2 there was no shortage of competitive racing, with many classes taking things right down to the line to decide the medals. As well as the medals there were other accolades won, such as Gerry Collins (1972 Olympian in Canoe Slalom) completing his 47th Liffey Descent, and taking home a bronze medal in the T2 along with Michael Keating.
As always we want to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part and took on the challenge on the day. We owe both the success and the amazing atmosphere this race always provides to you.
Thanks to our partners for support this great event –
Sport Ireland, ESB, South Dublin County Council, Dublin’s Outdoors, Dublin City Council, The K Club, Canoe Marathon Ireland, The Garda Boat Club, Greyhound and EsmarkFinch
A massive thank you to the clubs and rescue teams –