Energia sponsors 24 hour race

July 02

The Energia Belfast 24-hour event, Ireland’s first round-the-clock race, will be staged at the Mary Peters track in Belfast on August 6/7 starting at 6.45pm.

The current world track record stands to Greek-born Australian Yiannis Kouros who covered just over 188 miles in a single day.

The Irish track record holder is Eoin Keith at 147 miles – a distance Keith registered on the Tooting Bec track in London two years ago. There appears to be no track record for women – although Doina Nugent holds the 24-hour ‘road’ record at 129 miles – a record she set in 1996.

Race director Ed Smith who also created the successful Run Her women’s event says there is a question mark over what distance the winner of Ireland’s first 24 Hour Race will cover.

“I have no idea if any of the field will be able to get near those sort of distances,” he says. “Indeed, it fills me with wonder that they are even prepared to put themselves through this harshest of regimes that will test mental strength every bit as much as disintegrating feet.”

Smith says where once the 26.2 mile marathon was the ultimate test –now there is a whole new crop of ultra-runners pushing out the horizons. In the UK alone this year there will be over 100 such events.

“ I’m limiting the field to 50,” he says. “ And, in my book, they’ll all be heroes by the end. They can bring up to four helpers with them and we’re hoping that will create a a real sense of community in a tented village on the inside of the track,” he says.

“ And, for each milestone they pass over 50 miles there will be rewards with a cash prize of £500 to the winning male and female who has travelled the furthest.”

Fittingly, the race brings a new sponsor into running: Energia, Ireland’s leading independent energy business.

Its Chief Operating Officer Tom Gillen says he welcomes the chance to back an innovative challenge. “We are delighted to be able to support the first ever 24 hour race in Ireland.

“ As a keen runner myself, I can fully appreciate the huge demands on athletes who can complete 24 hours of running,” he says.

“It will require vast reserves of stamina as well as mental strength.

“ This innovative competition adds a new sporting challenge for us to enjoy and I look forward to a memorable and historic event,” he says.

The event is also being supported by Belfast City Council. Lord Mayor of Belfast Pat Convery says: “ I am delighted that Ireland’s first ever 24-hour race is going to be held in Belfast and at such an iconic venue as the Mary Peters track.

“ Belfast City Council is proud to support such a wonderful event through its Support for Sport funding programme and I wish all the competitors the best of luck,” he says.

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