Wednesday, April 25, 2012


The third edition of the Energia 24-Hour race will be staged at the 8-lane Sportsplex in Bangor, County Down  on July, 6/7 2012.

The move to the seaside, 12 miles from Belfast, has been necessitated by the closure of the Mary Peters’ track because of the redesigning of the complex to bring it up to international standards.

Race Director Ed Smith says:  “ We’re delighted to be bringing our own particular brand of madness and suffering to Bangor. The Sportsplex will support our needs perfectly. It’s a town that’s hosted word-class events in the past – and it’s go-ahead spirit can be seen in the 50 metre pool it’s currently building – the first in Northern Ireland.”

The event is the only round-the-clock race in Ireland and for the second year in a row will carry the kudos of Irish Championship.

“ We have a tradition of great ultra runners in Ireland and I’m proud to give them this platform- along with all our overseas visitors - on which to show what they can achieve on home soil,” says Smith.

Last year Kildare’s John O’Regan posted figures of 132 miles covered in winning the men’s race and  Killaloe’s Deidre Finn won the women’s championship running 112 miles.

In total some 18 ran,walked,staggered and crawled past the magical 100 miles including Everest conqueror Lynne Hanna  and Gerard McCann who began running 3 years ago to help him quit smoking and lose some weight.

Smith says: “ There is £1000 in prize money and special awards for anyone chalking up that century – but, in my book, they are all winners for just taking this on and we’re holding the entry fee at £50 in these straightened times.”

Energia, Ireland’s leading independent energy business, is back for the third year as title sponsor.

Energia’s Marketing Manager Michael Ringland says : “  This event highlights exactly our brand values: Smart, committed, competitive. A great idea with committed runners, all done in an extremely competitive nature.

“This has been a successful partnership for us in the last two years- an event that is breaking new ground and tests runners to the physical and mental limit. We had 8 countries and 18 Irish counties represented last year – and it made for a compelling spectacle of achievement against the odds, he says.”

North Down Mayor, Councillor James McKerrow, says: “ We are delighted to be hosting the 24 Hour race at the Bangor Sportsplex and look forward to welcoming all  the very dedicated(if slightly mad) runners to our Borough in July.”

There are three races on offer: The full 24-Hours, a 12-Hour option ,won by Sean McCormack from Wales in 2011 with just under 69 miles covered; and there is also a team relay.Team Orangegrove set the bar high last year at 170 miles.

The two races in 2010 and 2011 have carried ‘bronze’ labels from the world governing body and this year it is hoped to secure a ‘silver’ label – as it looks to bid for a European Track Championship in 2013.

A big thank you to Transport Services at the South Eastern Education and Library Board who supplied the bus to bring the kids from Crawfordsburn PrImary School to help ‘trace out’ the  ‘24’ for the event launch at the Sportsplex.

PHOTO(  Dame Mary Peters with North Down Mayor James McKerrow, Energia’s Chief Operating Officer Tom Gillen(pink shirt) , Race Director Ed Smith and the children of Crawfordsburn Primary School.

For more information contact Ed Smith at or 00447740818389.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

World Class Irish Team Result

John Byrne at the 2012 World 100km Championships in Seregno, Italy
The Irish men's team finished a magnificent 6th in the World 100km Championships in Seregno, Italy on 22nd April 2012.
In perhaps the most competitive championships to date, the UltraRunning Ireland athletes also set a new Irish team record in the process.
Team captain, Dan Doherty, was the leading finisher among the Irish when posting new personal best time of 7:07:26 hrs for a top 25 placing.
John Byrne and Keith Whyte were close behind, registering times of 7:16:27 and 7:25:56, respectively.
The cumulative times of the top three finishers establish team rankings and the new Irish team record of 21:49:48 hrs ensured 6th position overall. It was the highest global placing by any Irish athletics team in many years.
The winning team was Italy, with the USA finishing second and France third.
Michael Collins posted a very competitive 7:43:14 hrs to finish in the top 5 in the men's 45 category, but John O'Regan, Thomas Maguire and Jim McCormick encountered various problems and injuries during the race.
In the women's race, Ireland's sole competitor was Helen Lavin and she ran strongly to finish in a time of 8:54:38 hrs.
It was a remarkable weeked for the Irish delegation as UltraRuning Ireland chairman Richard Donovan was also elected to be Director of the International Association of Ultra Runners, the world governing body for the sport.
In the past few years, UltraRunning Ireland has achieved the highest standards on the international stage, including continental medals, top global placings and numerous new Irish records. An Order of Merit was also awarded to Richard and Paul Donovan for the staging of the IAU Trail World Championships in Connemara last year, which was broadcast globally to 200 million households.
However, Athletics Ireland's CEO John Foley will now take responsibility for all aspects of the sport of ultra running in Ireland, including the funding of teams for international compeitition.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ballybunion 10K, 2012.

Standing on the start line with 5 minutes to go and I'm want to be anywhere else.  No complaints with my training and my recent '10K paced' 5K race in Clongowes aimed at this race meant I was in good condition but yesterday didn't go well at all.  Missed my dinner and ate mostly junk out of hunger plus I had a bit of a barney (argument) which went on and on, didn't sleep too well and I know I'm a bit stresed thinking about the 100K Worlds.  Woke up on race morning feeling bloated and stomach wasn't great but I was consoled by knowing that I usually race well when not feeling too good which is brought on by the body's fight or flight mode as it's your body's way of preparing for what's ahead but I think today is more stress related.

Went for my usual pre race run trying to convince myself that all was ok but my heart rate was very high and seeing it so high probably made it go higher so I shortened the run rather than making a bad situation worse.  The late start in Ballybunion allowed time for a proper breakfast and I finished eating at 11am for  a 2pm start to prevent any stomach related problems.

And we're off! I'm pacing myself today rather than racing but having said that my goal time of 35 minutes is faster than last year's winning time so I knew I'd be at the business end of the race.  The race has a very fast start for a short distance down main street before turning sharply right and heading out along the coast.  I took off with the lead group and settled in at the tail end and tried to get comfortable being uncomfortable.  Leaving the town there's a long drag which seems to go on forever and then after a slight leveling it drops for for close to 2K with some undulating sections.  it's a relief reaching the downhill and although your legs temporarily feel that little bit better it's no relief to your head as you know with it being an out and back course that you must turn around and pay back each of these downhill steps.
On the approach to the turnaround I can see the lead runner running back towards me and he's looking very comfortable.  I miss the turning point and know I have so I start shout for confirmation and end up adding maybe 15M to my race and by the time I'm back on course I'm in 4th or 5th position.  I dig deep and try to get back where I think I should be and that's in fighting place for 2nd - 4th position based on how the race was panning out and not being presumptuous.
I get back in with the pack and try recover from the unplanned burst and soon begin trading places with one other runner who always seems to have the extra kick to push the pace on.  I take a chance and follow a kick and then maintain it as we hit a hill shortly after 7K and that was the last I saw of him.  I didn't know how close he was and I didn't want to look behind.  In the distance up ahead I could see the race leader and I was willing him to turn around to show some sign of weakness that would make me think it was worthwhile to make the extra effort.  I felt like the hunter chasing his prey but also felt like the prey being hunted down, the choice was to push on too soon and possibly burn out or stay steady and not getting caught.
I stayed steady and on the final approach of maybe 300M to the finish line someone shouted 'yer grand, there's no one behind you' so I kicked to the finish and crossed the line comfortably in 2nd place with a new PB of 35:09.
Compared with my last time running this race back in 2010 I was over 1 minute faster for the same average Heart Rate of 159 bpm.

1st: Tom O'Connor. 34:19
2nd: John O'Regan. 35:09
3rd: Nial Shanahan. 35:44

Race Results.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Clongowes Wood 5K

Rory Mooney, John O'Regan, Peter Mooney.

The Taper has started and that means reduced volume with increased intensity and what better way to start it than with a race.
The inaugural Clongowes Wood 5K took place in the magnificent surrounds of Clongowes Wood College on Sunday April 01st.  A well organised race with a field of almost 500 runners and walkers of all abilities including many familiar faces.  The race was as flat as you'll get with no more than 15M of ascent and race day conditions were perfect so this was the day for a PB but I had gone with a plan!  I was running with one of my trainers 'Kevin Belton' and the plan for today was a 3:30K for a 17:30 finish.  After a fast start I settled into my pace with Kevin slightly ahead and when passing through the first kilometer mark he confirmed our split as 3:30.  The main pack were slightly ahead but rather than get caught in the race we stayed as we were and clocked the same pace going through the second and third marker.  Kevin dropped back ever so slightly as we approached the 4K mark but I maintained the pace nestled into a group of 3 and prepared myself for a sprint finish.  Soon after passing the 4K mark the entrance to the college becomes visible and the final 7-800M from the gate to the finish line is just stunning.  Not knowing how good my kick was I stayed with the pack and waited for the last possible moment and then it happened.  
Sprint finish.
I made up 1 position with the sprint finish and crossed the finish line fairly spent which is always a good way to cross the line.
Crossing the line.

Crossing the finish line in 17:31 for 5th overall and as I later found out, 1st Over 40.  No big deal but it did get me a very impressive prize.

Photos thanks to Peter Mooney and full set of race day photos photos available on Peter Mooney's flickr.