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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 00447740818389.