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As entries into the world of ultra running go, this was indeed sensational

26 June 2016

As entries into the world of ultra running go, this was indeed sensational. The Energia 24 was held on the 25th and 26th June at Victoria Park.

Louise Smartt from Newtownabbey announced her arrival with a stunning victory at the Energia24-hour National Championships in Victoria Park which was of international standard.

The 37-year-old BT engineer was unknown before the week-end having not ventured beyond the marathon distance. But she led from start to finish,never stopped or looked back to record an eye-popping winning distance of 204kms(126 miles) - a posting that had the wow factor about it for a novice to the sport and was good enough for 9th overall in a field of nearly 100.

Indeed, there were personal best performances all over the park at an event that will stage the World Championships in Victoria Park next year,as 12 athletes went passed the 200km mark  and some 44 passed the 100 miles - comfortably a record for the championship.

There were calmer waters in the mens championship where Eoin Keith,47, from Cork retained his Irish title. Keith registered 242kms(150 miles). Another Cork man Alex O’Shea had gone through the 100 mile mark quickest but Keith, who’s had a red letter year, reeled him in with another Corkman and another newcomer,Aidan Hogan storming through to take second place on 238kms(148 miles) with Belfast’s Madrid-based Mr Consistency Eddie Gallen, a former champion,taking third(230kms/143 miles) just ahead of Belfast’s Tim Bownlie(226kms/140 miles).

There had been much interest in the first appearance at a 24-hour race of the Irish 100km record holder Keith Whyte. But the Ennis man dropped out after 131kms(81 miles) with a recurrence of a knee injury.

The day had started in world record breaking style with Jan-Albert  Lantink,55, from the Netherlands breaking the age-group mark to win the 100kms in 7:07:26 more than 3 minutes inside the old record. The Hengelo athlete had enlisted a doping control officer to ensure the record would be recognised and he lived up to his billing. The women’s 100km title was won by Belgrave Harrier Samantha Amend from Buckinghamshire who posted the fastest women’s time in the UK this year with 8:09:52 putting herself in the frame for GB selection.

Mark Walker, another new ultra face from Bangor, won the 12-hour race in 121kms(75 miles); and it was a Bangor double, with Ballydrain Harrier Fiona Prue - a further debutant at the distance- winning the women’s race in 115 kms( 71 miles) which was good enough for fourth overall.

Prue finished narrowly ahead of Cork blind athlete Sinead Kane who with her guide Philip Bourke, finished runner-up for the second year in a row with 112 kms(70 miles). The oldest competitor in the field 66-year-old Colette O’Hagan from Dundalk registered 79kms(48 miles).

Finally, a new name was etched on the 24-Hour relay trophy with Clonmel AC winning from the Mayfiles with Dublin Bay Runners ‘A’ in third.

 

For more information: Ed Smith 07740818389 e: ed_n_smith@hotmail.com