IAU World 24-hour Championships The world is ready, are you
01 July 2017
This weekend, the eyes of the running world will be on Northern Ireland as the best ultra-distance athletes from around the globe take on the IAU World 24 hour Championships at Victoria Park in Belfast.
The prestigious race kicks off at 12pm on Saturday 1st July 2017 and finishes on Sunday 2nd July 2017 at 12pm. Some 42 nations from six continents will be represented, and for the first time, the event will incorporate the WMA World Masters Age-Group Championships.
The USA will have the biggest team while the furthest travelled will be Richard Avery and Kim Allen from New Zealand.
Polish world record holder Patrycja Bernowska heads the ladies field – the previous world record had stood for some 8 years but Patrycja broke it at her own National Championships back in February (2017), running 252.6k (159.2 miles).
It also meant she took the European record away from Sweden’s Maria Jansson, who had beaten her at the European Championships in Albi, France last October (2016). Maria will be out to get it back in Belfast. However, both will be keeping a wary eye on the USA team led by the current World Champion Katalin Nagy, who’ll be backed up by the runner-up from the last World Championships in Turin, Traci Falbo and Courtney Dauwalter, who set a new national record of 250.79k (155.39 miles) at Riverbank earlier this year. That line-up will make the Americans favourites to retain the team title.
The Irish ladies team will be led by Cork’s Ruthann Sheahan who is just back from a training stint in Bhutan. Ruthann’s best place in a World Championship was seventh in Poland in 2012, where she set a new Irish record of 229k (143 miles). Northern Ireland ladies Susan McCartney and Louise Smart will also feature in the Ireland team.
In the men’s race, World Champion from Turin, Florian Reus (Germany) will be defending his title. So far the German has had a quiet year but in 2015 he ran 263.89k (163.9 miles) to win the World Championships and followed that up by winning the Spartathlon.
American Pete Kostelnick will also be worth watching – he holds the coast-to-coast record in the States and has reportedly been doing big mileage back home. His personal best is 263.41k (163.68 miles).
Great Britain’s men are here to defend their team title from Turin and again have a strong line-up. There’s European Champion from Albi Dan Lawson, who covered 261.8k (162.7 miles) and World bronze medallist Robbie Britton; in Turin, Robbie recorded 261.14k / 162.26 miles.
Lithuania’s Alexsandr Sorokin is another who’s been beyond 260k mark – he did this in Athens last year (260.49k / 161.86 miles).
It will undoubtedly be a proud moment for Northern Ireland native Eddie Gallen who will fly in from Madrid to captain the Ireland men’s team in his home city. He has competed for Ireland at the last eight World Championships and this will be his 34th 24-hr race.
National Champion and will-respected endurance specialist Eoin Keith comes here on the back of a remarkable run in May (2017), when he ran the length of Ireland, from Mizen to Malin - he completed this in just over 3 days and 3 hours to break the existing record by nearly 12 hours. Northern Ireland’s Tim Brownlie will also represent Ireland.
Elsewhere this weekend…
A host of local talent will be in action at the Irish Life AAI National Junior and Under 23 Track & Field Championships in Tullamore (Ireland) this weekend (Saturday 1st July 2017).
Amongst those chasing medals will be rising stars Craig Newell (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Fintan Stewart (City of Derry AC), James Edgar (City of Lisburn AC), Aaron Sexton (North Down AC), Lauren Roy (City of Lisburn AC), Toni Moore (Carmen Runners), Christian Robinson (City of Lisburn AC), Gareth Thompson (City of Lisburn AC), James Kelly (Finn Valley AC), Ben Fisher (City of Lisburn AC), Ellie McCartney (City of Lisburn AC) and Lydia Mills (Ballymena & Antrim AC).
A start list for the event is available HERE
Less than 24 hours later, Masters athletes will take centre stage in Tullamore for the Irish Life AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships (Sunday 2nd July 2017). Former World, European, British and Irish medallist Cathal McLaughlin (Derry Track Club) will lead the local charge for honours.
A start list for the event is available HERE
Check out the first part of our weekend preview, including Leon Reid’s pursuit of a Commonwealth Games standard HERE