The race is on to win €15,000 – and the Mahers from Laois continued their fantastic start tonight.
The Mahers took on three other families in the Hell & Back course where the bottom two families after two events would end up in a eliminator.
First up was the Swamp Trek where the Mahers nominated Fionn and Nicholas to take part in the race against the other families.
In a grueling race, that saw them get through a bog and then swim to a raft, Fionn just pulled his dad onto the raft a split second ahead of the Hogans to finish in the second place behind the McSharrys.
Then it was on to Devil’s Creek for a time-trial where all four family members, Nicholas, Fionn, Cara and Maeve, were thrust into action.
The four of them had to walk over balance beams, swing over monkey bars, climb a cargo net, wade through a swamp and then carry a log for 500 metres – all against the clock.
The Maher’s were last to go and they needed to beat a time of 3:18 in order to avoid the eliminator and go straight through to the semi finals.
However, they finished in 3:39 which sent them to the eliminator against the Mandiangus from Dublin.
This was a race which began on bales of hay and then consisted of a 360 metre run, ice baths, a series of walls, cargo net and then back up the hay bales where they started.
But the Mandiangus got stuck on one of the early walls and the Mahers streaked ahead and won comfortably to book their place in the next stage of the competition.
In Round 1 three weeks ago, the families were split into three heats of five with the first three qualifying for the next round and the bottom two heading for the eliminator.
The Mahers were running away with the race initially until Meave ran into some difficulty but they got it back together and came home in second place to safely qualify to the next stage.
Then in Round 2, they took on ‘Quick Sand’ against coach Anna Geary’s two other families – the McArdles from Down and the Ui Bhraonains from Carlow.
The challenge saw the families climb the 20 metre sand dune in Strandhill, Co Sligo while also carrying two large life buoys behind them.
The Mahers finished in the quickest time and go straight through to the next stage of the competition – avoiding the eliminator.
Dad Nicholas is the oldest member of the team and he is very well known in GAA circles as he is currently a coach with the Killeshin senior football team who will contest the Laois championship final on Sunday against Portlaoise.
Nicholas is joined by three of his children – Fionn, Meave and Cara.
All three are members of St Abban’s athletics club and Fionn, who is the oldest, is also part of the Killeshin senior football panel.
Meave and Cara, 19 and 18, are part of the successful St Abban’s ladies team who have claimed the National Premier Division title for the last two years running.
Ending Dundrum South Dublin’s six-year winning streak in 2018, they repeated the feat again earlier this year.
They then went on to represent Ireland at the European Club Championships in Portugal and Finland over the last two years.
They will hope to follow in the footsteps of the Mulhares and the McDonalds who did so well in this competition in recent years.
Last year, the McDonalds, coached by Davy Fitzgerald, lost out in simply heart-breaking fashion in the final in Croke Park.
Martin, Breda, Kate and Cian were cruelly defeated at the very last hurdle by seconds by the Coney family.
The Mulhare family from Portlaoise, appeared in the second series of the competition.
Coached by former Olympian Derval O’ Rourke, the international long distance runners made it as far as the final and were pipped at the finish line by the Kingston’s of Cork.