Deirdre Finn from Tipperary, an ultra runner from Derg Athletics Club, completed the grueling Energia 24 Hour Race on Sunday last, 2nd July in Victoria Park, Belfast.
She ran 103 laps of the 1.7km track, clocking up over 170 kms. The event saw competitors run as many laps as they could of the race track in a 24 hour period (Saturday to Sunday).
This year’s event was run alongside the World 24-Hour Running Championships. The entry list for the Energia 24 Hour Race included 74 men and 26 women with ages ranging from 27 to 67. Entries came in from across the UK and Ireland and from as far away as Australia, France, Hong Kong, Iran, India, South Korea and the USA.
Cork’s Alex O’Shea produced a huge personal best to win the event. The St. Finbarr’s athlete went 24 kms (15 miles) further than he had ever gone before and his total distance of 243 kms (151 miles) was good enough to earn him third place in the National Championships being run alongside the World Championship. O’Shea had come into his first 24-hr race last year on the back of a bout of ill-health and had been disappointed by his performance - but there was no stopping him this year as he sent a signal out to the international selectors as to just what he can do.The Energia 24 Hour entrants were determined not to be overshadowed by the drama of the World Championship happening all around them. That inspired a record 39 runners to go beyond 100 miles and collect the coveted jacket that recognises that achievemen.
And they also forced their way onto the podium of the World Masters’ Age-Group Championships being run in conjunction with the World Championships with 67year-old Collete O’Hagan from Dundalk covering 142kms( 88 miles) to take the gold medal in her age-group.
Race Director Ed Smith says “This year’s Energia 24hr Race was sensational. It was our second year at the 1.7km circuit in Victoria Park in east Belfast. And we ran the 24-Hr World Championships at the same time. Entries were filled in record time when they opened back in y levels doubled and some fantastic races were run. Runners from all over Ireland competed alongside some of the most accomplished ultra runners from around the globe.”
“Corkman, Alex O’Shea, from St Finbarrs Athletics Club, won this year’s race completing 146 laps of the 1.7km track – a total of just under 243 kilometers or 150 miles. What an achievement! Alex finished second in last year’s event, so it was a particularly special occasion for him.”
“Thomas Klimas from Limerick from Doneen Atheltics Club came third, completing 136 laps, or 225 kilometers in the 24 hour race period.”
He concluded, “It was great to have the use of the upgraded Victoria Park facility and with it the support of Belfast City Council alongside our title sponsor Energia, who have been with us from the start.”
Michael Ringland, Marketing Manager, Energia said: “This year’s race has been another fantastic event and everyone in Energia wants to congratulate all of the competitors. We’re looking forward to 2018 already.”
The event carries a Silver Label from the World Governing Body and is grant-aided by Belfast City Council.