4 Marathons in 4 Days – Ireland’s Iconic Multi Day Event

4 marathons in 4 days

4 Marathons in 4 Days  – Quadrathon Chronicles

4 marathons in 4 days – sounds like a challenge!  As a passionate marathon runner, I have embarked on numerous running adventures, but there’s one event that stands out among the rest. The Quadrathon in Donegal, Ireland. This incredible race tests not only your physical endurance but also your mental fortitude. Running four marathons in four days may sound like a daunting task, but once you experience the camaraderie, friendships, and breathtaking landscapes of Donegal, you’ll understand why it’s a must-do event for all marathoners.

The best part? There’s also a half marathon option for those who prefer a slightly less gruelling challenge. Oh, did I mention the medals? If you love your running medals, then look at this beauty. Each medal combines together on the last day to make a super medal!

running girls Finish line Liam GallagherPeter Ferris marathonerDave Brady marathoner   Medal  

The Quadrathon offers a separate route every day, completing a single 105-mile loop over four days, traveling along 105 miles of coastal roads around Inishowen 100 and the Wild Atlantic Way scenic route. The routes are a mass of beautiful scenery and dotted with historical landmarks and small friendly towns and villages. The perfectly balanced choice of course each day and our added hospitality and care for runners are what make this event so unique, earning it a well-deserved reputation as the “best of its kind in Ireland or Europe,” as attested by past participants’ testimonials, which are indisputably the “proof of the pudding.”


The 4 marathons in 4 days are known as the WARRIOR COURSE – let’s take a look at each day.

Day 1: A Journey Begins – Kinnego Marathon

The Quadrathon, a remarkable event that holds its origins in the vision of local businessman Harold McGuinness, launches with an exhilarating full marathon on the first day. As I stood amidst the diverse crowd at the starting line, a palpable sense of excitement permeated the atmosphere. Runners hailing from various corners of the world had converged to embrace this monumental challenge, and the energy was positively electrifying.

Our journey began, and as we ventured forth, the picturesque countryside of Donegal unfurled its breathtaking beauty. Verdant fields stretched as far as the eye could see, dramatic cliffs loomed in the backdrop, and the soothing sounds of the ocean serenaded our run. Running alongside my fellow participants, it became evident that the Quadrathon wasn’t just about conquering the miles; it was a crucible for forging enduring friendships. You will truly experience The Joy of Running!

The shared pain, the mutual encouragement, and the jubilant celebrations after each race stage brought us closer together. It was a unique bond, a camaraderie that only fellow marathoners can truly comprehend. The Kinnego Marathon, representing a sneak peek of the terrain that awaited us over the next four days, served as a microcosm of the entire event.

It featured a mix of flat and scenic coastal roads, traversed quaint villages, entailed arduous hill climbs, and offered ever-changing, awe-inspiring scenery at every turn. Day one’s marathon commenced in Moville, treating us to a relatively flat and picturesque first 9 miles along the serene banks of the Foyle. We passed through Greencastle village, the Golf links, and Shroove, before a dramatic change in direction that unveiled a panoramic vista encompassing Lough Foyle and the Causeway Coast.

Turning right marked the beginning of one of the most demanding 2-mile hill climbs, ascending 900 feet in elevation. At the summit, we were rewarded with panoramic views in all directions, and from there, a steep 2.5-mile descent led us toward the Half Marathon stage, situated just south of Kinnego Bay. As on every day, there were convenient kit drop facilities, restrooms, and food provisions at the Half Marathon stage, ensuring the well-being of the runners throughout this epic journey.

  Quad Elevation Day 1 marathons

Day 2: The Force is Strong – Malin Head Marathon

As we embark on the second day of the Quadrathon, it’s another marathon, and our muscles are definitely feeling the strain. However, the sense of togetherness among the participants continues to grow. The friendly banter and words of encouragement from both new and familiar faces on the course act like a soothing balm for our spirits.

Day 2’s experience is Ireland’s most northerly marathon. This unique race offers views and landscapes exclusive to the West Coast of Ireland. The marathon follows the most northerly coastal roads, offering breathtaking scenery with the Atlantic waves nearly brushing your feet at times.

Alpaca Day 2 marathons 4 marathons in 4 days Day 2 runner

4 marathons in 4 days Day 2 runners beach4 marathons in 4 days Day 2

The rugged beauty of Donegal provides constant inspiration throughout the journey. Every twist and turn in the route unveils breathtaking vistas, making every step a true delight. For those who prefer a slightly less demanding challenge, there’s also an option for a half marathon, allowing more runners to partake in the enchantment of this event.


Starting from yesterday’s finish in Malin Town, marathon runners will cover the rest of their day on the Wild Atlantic Way route. They’ll feel the refreshing North Atlantic winds as they sweep along the northern coast, with the sound of the Atlantic waves being the only intrusion to their thoughts. It’s an opportunity to witness some of Ireland’s most stunning coastlines. And don’t forget, at the 20-mile mark, there’s a chance to snap a picture with some lovely alpacas.

Day 3: Is there a hill today?– Mamore Marathon

On the third day of the Quadrathon, the debate rages on about which is the toughest day, with Day 1 and today being the primary contenders. Nevertheless, we’re now well-acquainted with what to anticipate. Day 3 offers a relatively flatter course compared to Day 1, the only formidable obstacle being Mamore Gap. If you’re not familiar with it now, you’ll certainly remember it if you decide to participate in the Mamore Marathon or Half Marathon.

Our journey begins in Malin, taking us through Carndonagh, Ballyliffin, and Clonmany along a predominantly level route. We reach the halfway point at Tullagh, near the Rusty Nail bar in Urris. For both Half Marathon and Marathon runners, a calm day is desired as the next four flat miles can be challenging due to winds from the North Coast, which significantly affect your pace. Wind or no wind, you will confront the epic Mamore Gap at the end of this stretch.

lone runner day 3

The view from near the top!


runner day 3 marathons

This is me being encouraged by my kids over Mamore Gap.

Mamore Gap

Mamore climb is an 880ft ascent over 1.2 miles, featuring steep inclines at both the beginning and end. Only a few runners have managed to approach anything resembling running on this section, while the rest resort to walking, crawling, or any means necessary to conquer it.

After soaking in the breathtaking panoramic views, you must assess the toll the past few miles have taken on your energy before embarking on the remaining, seemingly ordinary, 14 kilometers with no major surprises. The finishing route for today takes you along the coastline at Neds Point, culminating in a final one-mile run along the Shore Path into Buncrana, where the finish line awaits at Buncrana Youth Club.

As we reach the end of the third day, our bodies are beginning to feel the strain of the previous marathons, but our spirits remain unwavering. The friendships forged among participants are flourishing, and the shared achievement of completing three marathons in as many days is a testament to our unwavering determination.

Donegal’s stunning countryside never ceases to amaze, and each day brings a new visual delight. The winding roads, undulating hills, and occasional glimpses of the coastline transform every step into a picturesque memory. It’s a constant reminder of why we’re here – not just for the running, but for the beauty of this place and the enduring friendships we’re nurturing.

4 marathons in 4 days 3downhill mamore

Day 4: The Final Push – Muff Marathon

The last day of the Quadrathon is a mix of excitement and trepidation. Our bodies are fatigued, but the finish line is in sight, and the prospect of completing four marathons in four days is exhilarating. The bonds formed with fellow runners are now unbreakable. We lean on each other for support, sometimes literally during the toughest moments. The Runners High is nothing short of phenomenal! Read all about it here!

Crossing the finish line on the fourth day is an emotional experience. The sense of achievement, the knowledge that you’ve completed 4 marathons in 4 days, and the friendships you’ve made along the way all combine to create a moment you’ll never forget. Donegal’s beauty and the unforgettable camaraderie have left an indelible mark on my heart.

Buncrana the course takes in a 7 mile flat stretch along the East bank of Lough Swilly then turning left and onto a Muff and the half marathon start.

Half Marathon runners will also be delighted to learn of a flat course today, especially those who have run on the 3 previous days. Starting in Muff village this is a flat straight course all the way to the finish line along the West banks of the River Foyle, passing Quigleys point, Redcastle and finishing in Moville.

Medals! Marathons

Medal Medal Tattoo  line up 4 marathons in 4 days

What awaits is a thunderous welcome to all the Warriors who have completed what is an AWESOME challenge that they’ll tell the grandkids about. BUT the MEDAL oh the MEDAL – I just hope you have enough strength left to be able to hang it around your neck. What am I saying – of course you have. You have just completed 4 marathons in 4 days. YOU ARE A WARRIOR!



Conclusion: A Must-Do Event

The Quadrathon in Donegal, Ireland, is a unique event that offers marathoners a challenge like no other. Running four marathons in four days is an incredible achievement, but it’s the camaraderie, the friendships forged, and the scenic beauty of Donegal that truly make this event special.

Harold McGuinnes the brains behind the event once described the terrain as running over hills and mountains. However Harold’s definition of a hill is the side of a mountain and his definition of a mountain is the side of a cliff. Come to Donegal, Ireland and find out for yourself!


4 marathons medals haul

I have ran the Quadrathon 4 times. My medals above.


Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or looking to push your limits, this race should be on your bucket list. And don’t forget, the half marathon option for those who want to be a part of this unforgettable experience. Join Quadrathon family – it’s an adventure you’ll cherish forever. Click on the below image to take you to the home page to enter this fantastic event!

Quadrathon 2024


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