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Energia 24-Hour Race National Championship

July 20

The Energia 24 hour race took place on Saturday July 18th at Mary Peter’s Track in Belfast.

Energia 24-Hour Race National Championship

In the early hours of Saturday morning Eoin Keith,46, was  feeling so bad at the Energia 24 Hour race on the Mary Peters’ track, Belfast  that he was about to give up.

It was 2am and 8 hours into this most demanding ultra-test of mind and body but the decision he made to continue changed the course of the race, as the Cork man who lives in Dublin gradually reeled in the early pace setters to win with 142 miles(228kms) covered.

Victory allowed him to regain the national title he had won two years ago in an Irish record and after a topsy turvy year in which some had begun to write him off, this remarkable endurance athlete - one of only 4 men in the world to have run 300 miles in three days- was back at the top of the Irish ultra-tree.

In a race of swinging  fortunes when it looked as if new kids on the block might be about to take over with Wexford’s James Whitty and Limerick’s Polish athlete Thomas Klimas showing well, the old guard eventually restored order with Belfast’s Eddie Gallen,52 coming through strongly when it mattered to claim second( 138 miles/222kms).

It was a brave bid from the Madrid-based teacher ,running his 31st 24-hr race, to retain the crown he had won in emotional scenes last year.

But one new face did make the podium in Melbourne-based Malcolm Gamble,47. He took third(136 miles/219kms) and promptly collapsed from the effort.

Earlier, Kilkenny’s Billy Holden had led them out covering the first marathon in 3hrs 11 minutes - but he could not deny the laws of physics retreating to 35th by the finish.

Belfast’s Susan McCartney,38, comfortably took the women’s Irish title for the first time running 117 miles(189kms)to finish 9th overall. After her first international cap at the World Championships in Turin she is maturing into a fine ultra-prospect.

Behind her Dubliner Brenda Miere,37, who holds the Irish record for the most marathons in a year, took second(106 miles/171kms); with Carrick’s Gillian Cordner,40, in third(101 miles/163kms).

On a day when records tumbled as fast as the runners, 35 athletes passed the 100 mile mark and 7 went over 200kms.

The best placed international visitor was Italian Corrado Buzzolan who covered 101 miles/164kms.

The race welcomed its first wheelchair competitor in Blarney’s Jerry Forde,64 who did 55 miles/89kms for 48th place overall.

And, there was a remarkable run from blind athlete Sinead Kane,33. The Cork woman, competing with guide John O’Regan -a past Irish champion- covered 68 miles/110kms to finish an emotional second in the 12-hour race.

That race was won by Canadian-born Amy Masner,41 from Arklow with a new record distance of 73 miles/117kms with Dubliner Aine Gallagher, the previous record holder in third.

The mens 12-hour race was won by Dubliner Alan Gorski,34, in 75 miles/121kms with Navan’s Darren Sheridan second and Dubliner Gary Cullinan in third.

The 24 hour team race received much passionate support with Dublin Bay Runners ‘A’ team coming out on top with the three man, one woman outfit led by Ger Copeland covering 192 miles/309kms - comfortably breaking the record set by Donadea two years ago.

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