Kilkenny man conquers the Rás

Kilkenny man conquers the Rás

The dust has settled on the 67th edition of the Rás Tailteann and the bruises are just about healed.

For those who don't know, the Rás is an annual elite international cycling stage race that is held in Ireland.

The race was founded in 1953 and has developed into a key event on the annual racing calendar - with professional representation coming as far as The Netherlands.

In this year's event, the riders traveled clockwise around Ireland, with stage finishes in Horse and Jockey, Castleisland, Lisdoonvarna and Kilbeggan, before starting the final stage in Kinnegad to the finishing circuit in seaside town of Blackrock, Co. Louth.


Participants covered an astonishing 756km with 8 categorized climbs - almost impossible to comprehend.


I'm extremely proud to share that one of the Beat family did not just participate; Kilkenny's Luke Cullen completed the entire Rás!

"Definitely, without a doubt, the best thing I've ever done. I'll remember it for the rest of my life for sure," Luke said while speaking to SportsBeat Xtra.

From day one, the Rás delivered with drama and suspense. A sport that is high-octane inevitably leads to nail-biting moments and the inevitable bump.

Despite the nature of the event, safety is absolutely paramount and riders are assured of on-hand care from medical professionals.


"The biggest thing for every rider: To finish first, first you have to finish - you have to get home safe, as the saying goes," he added.

Despite the nature of the competition, there's a sense of family throughout the roster.

An undeniable sense of community exists and assisting one another through difficult moments is paramount.

Riders go through an experience - a cathartic of sorts - and even the most experienced of competitors will learn something about themselves.

As Luke explains, expect an education both physically and mentally: "Coming into the Rás I might have said my climbing is very good and my descending isn't great.

"Coming out of the Rás, I know now I'm better at climbing than I thought I was, the descending and bike handling I need to improve on. That's what I want, opportunities to learn."

The race is a journey and one that deserves national attention.

The riders travel through some of the most beautiful parts of the Country and locality is encouraged to partake - lining the streets and cheering the riders on.

The benefits of exercise are well noted but Luke believes cycling can unlock even more mental reward.

"Like everybody, these past two years for me have been tough. I've gone through struggles but the Rás is like a short remedy.

"Even going out on a training spin. Cycling is a huge benefit to me and everybody else who rides a bike."

This is just the beginning for Luke and his preparations are already underway for 2023.

We look forward to watching him progress and his next taste of the legendary Rás Tailteann.


Luke spoke with BeatSport before and after the event. His journey is broken down brilliantly in terms of preparation and experiences of the rás. You can catch both conversations at the links below:

Pre Rás

Post Rás