Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Kildare man John O'Regan wins Belfast 24-hour race

I am delighted to say that my Irish international team-mate John O Regan has won the national 24 hour championships.The 24 hour event is John's prefered distance and to put in a performance like this so soon after the World Trails shows his incredible talent as a top ultra runner. 

Kildare man John O'Regan set a new track record of 132 miles as he was crowned Irish champion by winning the Belfast 24-hour race.
O'Regan's distance beat the 127 miles set by last year's inaugural race winner Fermanagh man Thomas Maguire.
With Maguire dropping out after 16 hours, Madrid-based Belfast man Eddie Gallen finished second with 127 miles.
Tipperary native Deirdre Finn was first woman finisher as she produced 112 miles which left her sixth overall.
Limerick man Michael Cunningham, 46, set the early pace at the Mary Peters Track as he covered the opening marathon distance of 26.2 miles in three and half hours.
However, O'Regan, 41, moved into the lead by half distance and he went through the 100-mile barrier in under 17 hours.
O'Regan stayed on the track round-the-clock in the Energia sponsored race as did 48-year-old runner-up Gallen.
Powerful Icelandic competitor Gunnlauger Juliusson finished in third place on 120 miles.
However, performance of the race came arguably from women's winner Finn who added 22 miles to last year's best female time set by Lynne Hanna.
Hanna improved her personal best as she also went through the 100-mile barrier while Hungarian Timea Bontovics was third best female with 91 miles.
In all, 18 athletes went beyond 100 miles in the day-long event.
Belfast mother-of-two Susan McCartney collapsed in the middle of the track after running for 12 hours but after resting for four hours, then resumed the race to complete 86 miles by the finish.
The 12-hour race was won by Welshman Sean McCormack who achieved 68 miles while the Orangegrove quartet of Liz Leitch, Gary Keenan, Colin Fulton and Ralph Coetzee won the relay event with a total of 170 miles.
Race director Ed Smith spoke of the "true heroics" produced at Mary Peters Track.
"It's mind over matter stuff. And, the miles covered were amazing - especially with a very cold night and a very hot day to cope with. Well done to them all," added Smith.

Monday, 25 July 2011


As I briefly mentioned in my last post,my world championships debut did not go according to plan.In the lead up to The Trail World Championships I was very confident with my preparation for the event and had trained harder than ever.So to say that I was disappointed with my performance would be an understatement,especially the fact that it was down to a novice mistake of failing to keep myself properly hydrated.Months of hard work and sacrifices all thrown out the window just because I took the nutritional side of my game for granted.If this had happened to me during a training session I would be p***ed off,never mind a world championships!!
Well after a few days of mixed emotions of frustration,anger and feeling sorry for myself I took some time off to spend with my wife and kids.I think the couple of weeks break have done me good and now I can start to focus on what is my prefered ultra distance event The World 100k Championships in september.
So as I prepare to enter another block of training I will have learnt a very valuable lesson from my day in connemara.Each race is a learning experience,so even on the bad days there are always positives.

Monday, 11 July 2011


The official Trail World Championships took place in Connemara on Saturday 9th July and the event has been heralded as an outstanding success.
Elite ultramarathon runners from every populated continent took part in the race, incuding over 120 athletes from the athletics federations of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain and the USA.
The event was also filmed for broadcast on Channel 4, Eurosport, Setanta and a host of other international channels over the coming weeks, surpassing the guaranteed international coverage of any other athletics event in Ireland this year. In addition, official London 2012 Olympic photographer, Mike King, travelled from the UK to photograph the event as well as journalists from France and Italy, which are trail running strongholds.
It was the first occasion an official world championships at trail running came to the country.
Race director Richard Donovan, who also organises extreme runs in the polar regions, planned an ambitious route of 70km, starting at Kylemore Abbey and encompassing mountains, grassland trails, compacted gravel trails, bog, loose rock trails and open countryside. He said Connemara was an obvious choice of location for such an extreme race given the amazing natural beauty of the region.
The Reserve Defence Force, Red Cross, Mountain Rescue and local volunteers were all out in force to guide and support people over the specially marked route. Meanwhile, thousands of people around the world logged on to live updates available on the race website www.runconnemara.com.
Incredibly, the first runner home, Erik Clavery (FRA), took only 6.39.07 hrs to complete the gruelling course. He was closely followed by Jason Loutitt (CAN) and Patrick Bringer (FRA). France dominated the team competition with Italy and Norway taking silver and bronze medals, respectively. Ireland finished 7th in the team competition and the first 3 Irishmen were Daniel Doherty 17th (7:19:18), Paul Tierney 24th (7:29:35) and Eoin Keith 27th (7:34:27).
Meanwhile, the women's race was won by Maud Gobert (FRA) ahead of defending world champion Cecilia Mora (ITA) and Lucy Colquhoun (GBR). France once again dominated the team competition ahead of Italy and Canada.
Richard Donovan said "It was a fantastic day for everybody and the bonus good weather ensured that Connemara will be showcased to millions of people around the world in a way that the region has never been shown before. The aerial footage of elite ultramarathon runners moving at speed over difficult terrain is incredible."
Adding to the day's success, the International Association of Ultra Runners awarded the Order of Merit to the organisers for their execution of the event.
On a more personal note things didn't go quite according to plan for me.Due to stomach cramps and subsequent de-hydration problems I was forced to withdraw from the race.As devastated as I was,a member of the camp told me that "each race is a learning experience so there's always a positive to take".                                                                                              
Hopefully I can learn from this and bounce back with a decent performance in Winschoten,Holland in the world 100k in september.Regardless of my dissappointment the Irish team put in superb performance and deserve great credit on what was a really difficult race.
Men1. Erik Clavery (FRA) - 6:39:07
2. Jason Loutitt (CAN) - 6:40:32
3. Patrick Bringer (FRA) - 6:47:50
1. France - 20:24:50
2. Italy - 20:56:36
3. Norway - 21:29:02
Women1. Maud Gobert (FRA) - 7:41:31
2. Cecilia Mora (ITA) - 7:50:02
3. Lucy Colquhoun (FRA) - 7:57:20
1. France - 24:00:42
2. Italy - 24:21:35 
3. Canada - 27:01:08

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Live Race Updates

Follow the Runners on Race Day!

The public can follow the race competitiors' progress live on the Internet as they pass though the race course.
Runners will be tracked at the following approximate kilometre markings: 12KM, 28KM, 40KM, 48KM, 60KM, 70KM (Finish).
Progress is expected to be slow from 28KM - 40KM and 48KM - 60KM as these areas include a mountain section.

The Countdown is on!!

Global TV Coverage for Race

The official Trail World Championships at ultra running will take place in Connemara on Saturday 9th July 2011 and this amazing event is being filmed for broadcast globally.
The Championships will be operated in the picturesque area of Connemara National Park in Connemara, Ireland starting at the world famous Kylemore Abbey and finishing in the nearby village of Letterfrack.
Elite ultramarathon runners from every populated continent are now arriving in Connemara to prepare for the International Association of Ultra Runners event. They include over 120 athletes from the athletics federations of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain and the USA.
A strong Irish men's team could feature in the final shake-up for team medals for the host country.
The athletes must run a total distance of 70km on a course that encompasses mountains, grassland trails, compacted gravel trails, hard packed trails, bog, loose rock trails and open countryside. During the race, they will also run over Benbaun mountain twice, which has a summit height of 729 metres.
Aerial footage will be spectacular and race director Richard Donovan confirmed the event will be filmed for multiple half-hour broadcasts globally to millions of people. Among the confirmed broadcasters are Channel 4 and British Eurosport as well as a host of other networks on every continent bar Antarctica.
Furthermore, official London 2012 Olympic photographer, Mike King, will travel from the UK to photograph the event.
A parade of the nations will take place on Friday 8 July at 5.30pm in Letterfrack, Connemara and the race begins at 7am on Saturday 9 July at Kylemore Abbey

Monday, 4 July 2011


Well it's race week,and undoubtedly the biggest race of my career is only days away.After months of training and a few weeks taper I'm ready to race in my first world championships!If someone told me six months ago that I would be running in an Ultrarunning World Championship event as part of the Ireland Team I would have laughed at them,but fast forward to now and that dream is a reality!
The last two weeks of training for me were quiet difficult as I suffered alot from fatigue and couldn't figure out why my energy levels were so low.It got to the stage where I was getting so tired I paid a visit to my gp to get bloods done.In the meantime I have been forced in to taking a slightly longer taper than I planned.Turns out my iron levels were very low,which explains a lot!Luckily I got it checked in time and have had time to get some proper iron supplementation in to me.It's funny how we all underestimate the power of rest.Now that my body has had time to recover and repair itself, my energy levels have soared!I have been doing some shorter faster workouts this week and I feel totally recharged.I don't want to jinx myself,but I feel in the best shape of my life,and hopefully I will peak at just the right time.........THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!
We have a very strong Irish team for this event and also we have the advantage of being on home soil with hopefully lots of local support to encourage us along the way.
So the rest of this week will see me running some easy miles and plenty of stretching before making my way to Connemara.First on my list is a visit to Leon in Physiozone for my pre race rub just to loosen out any tight muscles.Leon has been a great help to me during my training.When I'm out training hard damaging my muscles it's Leon who has the job to repair all the damage I've done,and when you are running lots of miles it takes alot out of the body.I couldn't recommend highly enough the importance of regular physiotherapy to supplement ones training.
So the hard work is done......I hope!!The miles have been logged.The hours in Ozone gym have been put in and the body is now recharged and ready to go!
Keep posted for updates onhttp://www.ultrarunningireland.com/