Man (40s) dies while taking part in race event in Galway

Carl Dempsey became ill during cycle section of Gaelforce race on Maamturk mountain

A man in has died while taking part in an adventure race in Connemara, Co Galway.

Carl Dempsey was taking part in the Gaelforce race on Maamturk mountain on Saturday afternoon when he became ill. He received immediate medical attention but was pronounced dead a short time later.

According to gardaí, Mr Dempsey, who was aged in his 40s, became ill during the cycle portion of the race. His body was removed by helicopter to the mortuary at University Hospital Galway. A file is being prepared for the Coroner’s Court.

Mr Dempsey was married to the chief executive of Inclusion Ireland, Lorraine Dempsey, and had four daughters. "My heart has been left on the top of Croagh Patrick, never to come down again," Ms Dempsey said on social media on Sunday. She said she would like to think her husband made it to the top of the mountain and "felt elated before his heart stopped during Gaelforce".

“Thank you to everyone who tried to keep his heart going. He is gone from us.”

Mr Dempsey worked as vice-president of solution engineering for Salesforce.

The chief executive of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" at the news of the death of Mr Dempsey who "showed the way forward with his bright light".

“Carl always had a kind word and a sparkle in his eye. May the one who brings peace bring peace to his family and all.”

Gaelforce Events said that “at 12:21 race control was notified that a competitor [of Gaelforce West] had become ill on the final section of the race route”.

It said its marshals “responded to the scene immediately. The emergency plan was activated and the emergency services, including helicopter support, were called to the scene”.

However, “despite all of the care given to the competitor he did not survive”.

It extended its “deepest condolences to the friends and family of the competitor” and asked that their privacy is respected.

The popular race event includes a 35km cycle, running and walking stages, kayaking and a 7km climb.