Thursday, 27 December 2012


The members of the Irish 100km men's team are the Irish Ultra Runners of the Year for 2012.
The team - which comprised John Byrne, Michael Collins, Dan Doherty, Thomas Maguire, John O'Regan and Keith Whyte - finished a fantastic 6th in the World 100km Championships in April 2012.
Furthermore, individual members of the team performed brilliantly in other ultra events throughout the year.
Among these performances, John Byrne finished 5th in the World 50km Trophy Final, an event he qualifed for after winning UltraRunning Ireland's national 50km title in Donadea. In second place on that occasion was Barry Minnock, who went on to run a 2:17 Olympic B standard marathon later in the year.
Keith Whyte represented UltraRunning Ireland as an individual in the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k and made history by becoming the first Irishman to win this Home Countries international .
John O'Regan took the Irish men's 24-Hour title and Dan Doherty won the Welsh Coastal Ultra 100k, the South West Coastal 100 miles (UK), and set a new course record in the Mooathon in Donegal.
Michael Collins finished in the top 5 in the World Masters 100km Championships and Thomas Maguire, the Irish 100k and 24-Hour record holder, has been re-inventeing himself as an ultra runner in Australia.
It should be noted that the Irish team, which was captained and led home by Dan Doherty, also set a new Irish team record of 21:49:48 hrs at the World Championships

Friday, 14 September 2012

Like I said in my last post I was contemplating running the Longford Ultra and the Dingle Ultra.Longford because I wanted to defend my title which I won last year,and Dingle because I have never run it before and the thought of racing long distance through such picturesque scenery really appealed to me.
So what was the problem? Well,there was only 6 days between both races and the fact that I was still in recovery mode from July's ACP 100k,meant it was going to be a tough ask to be competitive in both races.
Going in to Longford I was unsure what to expect because I had done very little quality training since the ACP.I knew that I would be nowhere near my winning time from last year,but I went out at a similiar pace and said I would try and keep that going for as long as I could and then just hang on!

As it turned out I was feeling pretty comfortable until around the 30 mile mark and then I started to tire.I had been leading the race from the gun and I didn't know how much my lead was but I knew that the second place guy was only a couple of minutes behind.With nine miles to go I figured my lead was somewhere between one and two minutes.My pace had slowed in the latter stages but if I could maintain this pace for the remainder I knew I should have just enough to get the win.

My mind then turned to Dingle.I maintained a steady pace towards the end of the race without having to over exert myself.I used the last few miles as a "cooldown",whilst at the same time I was conscious of my slim lead.Luckily for me I was able to ease back on the pace and start my recovery for Dingle in 6 days and retain my title to make it 2 in a row in Longford.
Even though I was 12 minutes slower than my winning time last year,a win is a win and I'll take it,especially given the fact that second place Maurice Looby ran a fantastic race finishing just one minute behind me. down,one to go !!


No post race celebrations from Longford.It was time to maximise my powers of recovery.After the 2 hour drive home it was straight into the ice bath for the next few days and drinking lots of high anti oxidant rich fluids for muscle recovery.
During the week it was all about recovering from Longford and being in as best shape I could be for Saturday's race.

I finished work at 6pm on Friday evening and then made the journey for Dingle.I was staying in a hostel 6 miles west of Dingle and arrived shortly after 10pm and was greeted by the owner who offered me a cup of tea.I politely declined explaining I would try get some sleep as I was running in the morning.The woman seemed amazed to hear that I was running the Ultra!She continued to state that I didn't look like a runner,nevermind an ultra runner!!I didn't know if I was supposed to be offended or flattered by this remark.When she asked how I expected to do..I told her I would win!She laughed and said good night!

The Ultra start was an early one.The race itself didn't start til 7am,but I was up at 4.30am for breakfast.As usual there was no problem getting up at that hour because I never sleep the night before a race.
In Dingle town the ultra runners were bused to the ultra start line 24 miles away.
There was a real sense of nervous excitement amongst the runners.We all knew it was gonna be a tough day out but everyone seemed to embrace the challenge.

As soon as the gun went I found myself in second place for the first 6 miles.When I finally caught up with the leader Ray Lanigan,we introduced ourselves to one another and over the next few miles chatted about all things ultrarunning.Ray explained that his pre race plan was to run the first 5-6 miles hard and then ease in to a steady pace.After the 10 mile mark he said he would be dropping back and I then pushed the pace slightly and we said our goodbye's and wished each other luck.

Seventeen miles in and I was feeling good despite the driving headwind.
Enter the Connor Pass....
This was the section of the race which I knew was going to knock the stuffing out of me!
A 3 mile climb up Ireland's highest mountain pass.
The pace slowed dramatically and at times I felt that I might have been quicker walking given the severity of the inclines and the gale force winds!

Eventually we reached the summit and it was down hill in to Dingle where we would meet up with the marathoners and half marathoners.
Twenty four miles done(and a tough 24 miles I might add),and a marathon to go!
I had been running on my own at the front since mile ten and now once I reached Dingle town and headed west along the marathon route and found myself having to weave my way through the thousands of marathon and half marathon runners.
I was no longer running alone.As I worked my way through the field of marathon runners it made the latter stages of the race feel somewhat easier and as the race continued I seemed to be getting stronger and stronger.

With 13 miles to go and nearly all the climbs out of the way I did a time check and reckoned if I could push the pace slightly I was on for a sub 6 hour finish.
With 4 miles to go we had our last climb to overcome and then it was a straight 3 mile road in to Dingle.A quick time check....I needed to run the last 3 miles under 20 minutes to achieve the sub 6.
Running in to the finish line to a massive supporting crowd was unbelievable.Winning in a sub 6 hour time(5.59:25) even better,and smashing the course record by 23 minutes topped off a fantastic day and remarkable week for me.

So mission accomplished......two ultras in 6 days,two wins and a European No.1 ranking over 50 miles.
Not a bad weeks work!

Since Dingle training has been going very well and I feel I'm in good shape.I've also gained a lot of confidence from my last 3 races and am keen to continue my winning streak.

I have plans to run another race before the year is out.Maybe a 100km or maybe a long distance track race.I haven't decided on anything just yet but while I am in good shape and injury free I don't feel the need to end my season so early.I think I have one big one left in me.

Watch this space....

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Race,recover,adapt and........RACE AGAIN ??

                      Anglo Celtic Plate start

Well it's been a busy few weeks,even if I have been on holidays since the ACP.Plenty of celebrating with family and friends and a break from the the demands of ultra distance training.
However this week I returned to the day job in the garage,and with that came a return to the daily grind of training as well.

I scheduled my holidays to fit in around the ACP to allow for enough recovery.I pulled my calf muscle during the ACP and this needed time to heal.I thought I would be out for a few weeks,but thanks to Leon's healing powers and a certain set of needles I was back in action again after 5 days!Leon also gave me a foam roller for self massage,which I had never used before but now that I have started using this I cannot recommend it highly enough!It is a must for anybody looking to increase recovery time from workouts and so easy to use.And because it is so compact it can be brought anywhere.For more details check out Leon's website

My return to training this week has been somewhat painful to say the least!Two 100k races in 3 months have taken there toll and my recovery is slower than usual.This week I got in 2 long runs,a speed session(10x1k) and a hill session,but it was the long runs which I found the more difficult for a change!
But in saying that I am happy with the quality of my sessions this week in my first week back :)

Today was my first long run since the ACP and also my first opportunity to try out Craft's range of heat training gear.Even though the sun has been absent of late it has been extremely hot and humid.
So with a 3 hour run ahead of me with temperatures in the high 20's it was on with the Craft Ventilation tee and my arm coolers.What a difference wearing the right clothing can make to performance.When you are running in hot temperatures for a long period of time it is crucial that you are wearing the right clothing,so that your race performance or training session is not deteriorated in any way.Craft's Ventilation range not only look good but they are extremely effective in hot temperatures.

As for the next few weeks....There are a couple of road ultras coming up at the end of the month(a 40 miler and a 50 miler),which I have not decided on yet.I will see how my body responds over the coming weeks before I make a decision.It would be very soon to run two more races especially with them being only 6 days apart,but we'll see :)

The overwhelming responses which I have received from family and friends since the ACP has kept me in a positive frame of mind and will hopefully drive me on to continue working hard and become a better athlete.

So in the meantime it's continue training hard and work towards the next big day out.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012



I'll keep this short because it's been a hectic few days.I will have a more detailed race report later in the week,but for now I will give a brief summary of my weekend in Wales.

Firstly I think the guys from Welsh Athletics and the local organising committee deserve an awful lot of credit for putting on a fantastic event.They even arranged the fine weather...even if they did overcook that one !!

On a personal note this race had a different feel to it than other international races.Probably because I was the only Irish representative.
For various reasons unfortunately Ireland were unable to field a team in this years Plate.
The rest of the field was comprised of the cream of Britain's ultrarunners and I think it was fair to say that there was no way I was expecting to win.
My pre race goal was to run a sub 7,but unfortunately the very hot conditions made for somewhat slow times.
In these tough conditions the importance of the support crew is pivotal to performance,and thats where the ever-reliable John Collins comes in.
I can safely say that if it were not for John things would have been much more difficult for me to sustain a strong effort til the end.When my mind starts to wander after hours of running thats when John does the thinking for me.I was also kindly assisted by the Scottish team who were also a great help to me and I think the support they offered me is typical of the ultrarunning community.

Winning the Anglo Celtic Plate has been my greatest athletic achievement to date.I have won my first international competition after just 18 months on the Ultra running scene and hopefully I can gain a lot of confidence from this and go on to even better things in the future.

It's day's like this that makes all the hard work and sacrifices worthwhile.

Anyway I said I would keep this short for the time being but there is one person in particular who if it was not for I would not have been running this race.
Richard Donovan of UltraRunningIreland not only kept faith in my ability,but also financially funded the whole  thing in sending John Collins and myself over.
My winning this event is nothing compared to the hard work,dedication and money which Richard has put in to the sport in Ireland.

Also as usual a big thanks to all my sponsors
Pat Foudy Tyre Centre

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


The new summer running collection from Craft
I'm delighted to announce that Craft will now be kitting me out in the very best of running gear,and they have very kindly sent me on the latest gear from they're summer collection.

Can't wait to test all this stuff !! Looks great :-)

Check out

Saturday, 5 May 2012

                               100KM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012 RACE REPORT 

This years World championships was held in Seregno,Italy with record entries and 37 countries competing against one another for both World and European titles.Being part of Ireland's strongest Ultrarunning team to date to compete at global  level was an exciting prospect,and I was determined to make up for last year's disappointment.

The general feeling amongst the team was a very positive one and we all felt that if we were all on our game then we could achieve a very high team finish.

In a race as long as 100km it is rare that you will run the perfect race,but even when you run well you will experience a lot of bad patches.It is how you deal with these bad spells that determine the outcome of your race.Ultrarunning can be very rewarding but also very cruel.During my so far very short Ultra running career I have experienced lots of highs and lows,but like any sport it's all part of the game and I'm sure it will continue to be a rollercoaster ride for some time to come hopefully.

Usually I would be giving an in depth review of the whole race and every emotion I felt before,during and after the race,but then I came across a report on the race that my good friend Pat Bogue posted on the Clare Crusader's running webpage and decided for a change it would be nice to read a report from a supporter's view and get a feel for the whole event from a completely different angle.

So here is Pat Bogue's race report on the World 100k Championships 2012........

Another 2.30 am trip to Dublin airport, Colm Daly co-pilot in the passenger seat, déjà vu or what? This time, the destination is Seregno, Italy and Keith is doing the running. All going well until we boarded the Ryanair express and it was engulfed by school-touring teenagers and Carlo (aka the class clown, comedian and general source of all noise) was seated in front of me. At least Carlo said something, unlike the Milan Centrale Station staff who just grunted as we tried to find our way to Como San Giovanni, so eventually we figured out it involved a change at Monza (home of the Italian Grand Prix) and then the Chiasso train to Como. Much to Colm’s annoyance the hotel was not quite up to the ‘Riding School’ standard we were used to but at least they had managed to provide the twin-beds!!

We set off to find Seregno for the opening ceremony with the Supporting Whytes (John, Sarah-Jane & Fran). Turns out it was a handy 30 min train trip with regular connections (should be perfect for race morning). The Irish team was captained by Daniel Doherty and included Keith of course, John Byrne, Thomas Maguire, Michael Collins, John O’Regan, Jim McCormick and Helen Lavin. 

The opening ceremony consists of a flag-bearing event with local children, the local brass band, dance troupe, politicians etc.. eventually followed in procession by the competing teams. On reaching the first square, the Irish team received a taste of what was to come over the weekend in terms of their ‘embarrassing supporters’. The procession seemed to meander through every street in Seregno, the Irish supporters ended up gate-crashing the parade on a number of occasions and mortifying Keith in the process. Well someone had to compete with the bell-ringing, cheering viva Mehico! viva Mehico! (and no I have got the spelling wrong). 

Race start was due at 8 am in Seregno, so a 6.20 train would get us to the start line in ample time. Colm and myself were at the station at just after 6. Tickets in hand, we bumped into the blue and gold clad Fran (I suppose being from Tipp, it was a good opportunity to get to wear the colours once in 2012 ). A quick glance at the station screens showed that all trains had the letters SPO after them. I never did find out what SPO stood for but it resulted in a right pain in the ass for the next 17 hours or so. All trains and public transport were on strike, that’s what I quickly deciphered from the locals. Ah well, with 5 of us we would just jump into a taxi and travel the 20 or so miles to Seregno. An hour and a half later, we eventually secure a taxi. Shortly into the journey, Keith calls to say that the race start is delayed as the American team have been delayed due to snow on the mountains, we could still make the start. After a few towns, a u-turn was taken and we were heading back to where we came. Ah here, enough of this craic, we have a race to get to, so Pat-Nav kicked into action, and with no Italian, no map and rapidly decreasing patience, the Taxi driver was soon guided to Seregno and we jumped out at the first corner. We chanced a left turn and followed the route in reverse and met the race leaders as they reached the first km. A bit little Padraig O’Sullivan when there is a camera around, Keith led the Irish team on lap one. Impressed by our rapturous support for the ‘boys & girl in green’, the local TV crew asked us to do an encore for the cameras, no bother, happy to oblige. 

The route for the 100 km was a 20 km circuit of the town with a mind-boggling 1 km snake-like stretch through a park near the end (picture one of those snaking queues in the airport and multiply by a kilometre). The race was open to teams competing in world and European championships, individuals in the same event, 50 km race and a half marathon. Aid stations for teams were located at 5 km intervals. With the team on the road, time for first update to Bernadette (Whyte). Time for breakfast, easier said than done but after a few kms walk, we found a race-side restaurant which tickled our fancy – well to be honest, we figured out it served tea, coffee and toast. With the assistance of Francesca, we realised that not only was toast on offer but croissants, breakfast panini’s (a more cultured breakfast roll) and a number of local delicacies. From the experience learned at the 2011 World Championships, food (carb or any other type) loading is an essential on days like this. With perfect timing, as breakfast was almost finished the 100 km runners reached our town-centre location on lap 2 and Speedy Whyte getting a rapturous response from the Italians after a little prompting from us, well he did go easy on the World Champion Georgio Calcaterra in Connemara a few weeks ago... quick memo to supporters, the locals are on our side so no mention of Ray Houghton or Giants Stadium, 18th June 1994!!! Ok, that’s the Italians on our side, next up get the Germans on our side.... all going well until they approached, come on lads, give a cheer but then one of our crew (who shall remain nameless but hails from Tipp), roars, come on Holland ‘talk about not mentioning the war!!!’. 

To maximise the support effort, the ‘Supporting Whytes’ hit for the 10 km aid station and Colm and myself headed for the 15 km station. En-route we met all the Irish team as the completed lap 2. The weather was playing a little game of deception, going from blazing sunshine to clouds and a few drops of rain. It soon became clear that the locals were no true-blue Dubs when it came to supporting, a few die-hards here and there but not a Miltown-mob in place and as for the Nassua Street home straight, there would be more excitement after first mass on a January morning. The 15 km aid station was being manned by ‘middling marathon runner’ John Collins. Sounds good, we might fit in here, however I soon find out that the average runner has done a sub-3 hour marathon!!! These 100 km races and ultra-runners really are at another level. 

We have some excellent water-people in the crusaders but even the Hydrator Melissa and John Finn Snr (two of our most competent water supporters) could not but be impressed by these aid stations. Each runner with their own supplies, labelled for each stage and a few spares (water, isotonic, liquid gel, regular gels, energy bars, carb drinks, jellies, digestive biscuits, coke, you name it). John was also keeping tabs on each runners time and pace. To say that spending a few hours on the aid-station was an experience was an under-statement. During the day, John was also joined by team-manager Richard (7 marathons in 7 continents record holder, arctic and antarctic marathon organiser), Tony and physio John whose magic spray and healing hands were in demand from time to time. 

By lap 3 (55 km completed as they passed us) the race up front was starting to take shape with the world champion Georgio showing why he held the title, with the challenge coming from Canada and Spain. Dan was getting into his stride and maintaining a consistent pace, Keith and John Byrne were following close behind him. John O’Reagan was finding the going a bit tough while Thomas and Jim felt the day going against them. Michael remained consistent while the star of the team in terms of smiling composure was Helen. The duty of the support crew is to remain positive and motivating for the runners but despite our outward signs, the messages and phone-calls between the aid stations increased as the concern increased for how the team were bearing up. However, the American team calls to their support team kept us all entertained ‘USA, 2 gels; USA one water, one coke’ still rings in the ears. Text to the crusaders, ‘through 55 and doing well’....

At 75 kms, it seemed as if the world champion was getting into his stride, a bit like Frank Landy at mile 10 of a 20 mile run, he was just about breaking a sweat while pulling away from the opposition. Dan maintained his consistency, John was sticking to his pace.... where was Keith? Has he lost time, is he alright? .... That’s him lads! no i don’t think so, it’s him, I would recognise that run anywhere.... quick sprint to meet him before the station... ‘good stuff Keith, keep it going, looking good’.... Well lads, what do ye think? little bit of doubt from the lads, he has lost a minute or two, looking a little tired... but I was having none of it, not a chance lads, he nodded and smiled.... I had seen the look of defeat in Keith’s eyes before and this was not one of those days. Quick text to the crusaders... 75 done and all is well... call to Bernadette....

By this stage, it was already after 3 pm.... Dan was well into his last lap, time to hit for the finish. John did a quick top-up on all stocks before we left him. As we walked back towards the finish, we experienced the true determination of those competing... aches, pain, cramps and agony and for many they still had another 45 km to go. As we passed the 2 km sign, Dan came surging up the road, give me that flag he beckoned, so taking a short-cut we made it to the home straight. Roaring at the top of our voices, we let the locals know that the first Irish man had crossed the line (7.07). Tactics again came into play and the odd roar for the Italians as they passed ensured a wild response for our Irish Lads. John soon followed to finish in 7.16. 

By our reckoning, Keith was still on for a PB..... as the minutes passed, we anxiously strained our eyes to the corner.... where the hell was he? Come on Keith the clock is ticking, in my own head, I reckoned he had about 5 mins left for a PB... and then around the bend was the Whyte Swagger, engulfed by a massive Irish Flag... better ring Bernadette... so hanging onto the barrier with one hand, phone in the other with Bernadette hanging on, Crusader Keith roars past us and a new PB and third Irish finisher. The Irish team set a new record, 5th in Europe and 6th in the World.

Keith sitting there looking as if he had just run a hard 10 km... but wait, is that a monster blister from the run? Ah no, just a nasty infection which he had the week before but told no one. To say that the 100 km world championships is an amazing experience does not even start to do it justice: it was a mix of ultimate human endeavour, achievement, determination and of course fitness. To watch the world champion conquer the miles at his ease was mind-blowing. But to have the opportunity to support one of your friends wearing the green shirt and completing a world championship in record time was something special. Well done again to Keith and the Irish team and thanks for a great day out. Next year, it is Korea, will I be there? A bit like the Limerick marathon, I have not made up my mind yet!!!!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

World Class Irish Team Result

The Irish men's team finished a magnificent 6th in the World 100km Championships in Seregno, Italy on 22nd April 2012.
In perhaps the most competitive championships to date, the UltraRunning Ireland athletes also set a new Irish team record in the process.
Team captain, Dan Doherty, was the leading finisher among the Irish when posting a new personal best time of 7:07:26 hrs for a top 25 placing.
John Byrne and Keith Whyte were close behind, registering times of 7:16:27 and 7:25:56, respectively.
The cumulative times of the top three finishers establish team rankings and the new Irish team record of 21:49:48 hrs ensured 6th position overall. It was the highest global placing by any Irish athletics team in many years.
The winning team was Italy, with the USA finishing second and France third.
Michael Collins posted a very competitive 7:43:14 hrs to finish in the top 5 in the men's 45 category, but John O'Regan, Thomas Maguire and Jim McCormick encountered various problems and injuries during the race.
In the women's race, Ireland's sole competitor was Helen Lavin and she ran strongly to finish in a time of 8:54:38 hrs.
It was a remarkable weeked for the Irish delegation as UltraRuning Ireland chairman Richard Donovan was also elected Director of the International Association of Ultra Runners, the world governing body for the sport.
In the past few years, UltraRunning Ireland has achieved the highest standards on the international stage, including continental medals, top global placings and numerous Irish records. An Order of Merit was also awarded to Richard and Paul Donovan for the staging of the IAU Trail World Championships in Connemara last year, which was broadcast globally to 200 million households.
Athletics Ireland's CEO John Foley will now take responsibility for all aspects of the sport of ultra running in Ireland, including the funding of teams for international compeitition.

Sunday, 8 April 2012


Pictured: Dan Doherty, Irish 100km Team Captain
Ireland will send a very strong team to the European & World 100km Championships in Italy on 22nd April.
The men's team will be captained by Daniel Doherty, who finished 14th in the 2011 World Championships.
Doherty, along with Irish 50km Champion John Byrne and Irish 100km record holder Thomas Maguire make up a trio of Irish runners with sub-7:10hr PBs.
The team, which also includes Keith Whyte (sub 7:30hrs), Michael Collins (World veteran bronze medallist) and John O'Regan (Irish 24-Hour Champion) will be among the favourites to medal in Europe. The cumulative time of the top three finishers for each nation decides the outccome of the team competiion.
In addition to the team, Jim McCormick will represent Ireland as an individual and should be among the top contenders in the vets competition (which is run concurrently).
In the women's race, Ireland will be represented by Helen Lavin, who has recently posted some very good ultra performances in the USA.
John Byrne
Michael Collins
Daniel Doherty
Thomas Maguire
John O'Regan
Keith Whyte
Jim McCormick*
Helen Lavin*

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Irish international ultra runner,Richard Donovan has set a new world record for running a marathon on each of the 7 continents in under 5 days.Donovan started his epic journey in Antarctica on February 1st at 09:53(GMT) and the aim was to finish his final marathon before 7pm in Sydney(local time).

In between Antarctica and Sydney,Donovan ran marathons in London,Cape Town,Orlando,Hong Kong and Sao Paolo completing this physical and logistical feat in a record-breaking 4 days 22 hours and 3 minutes.

For more info check out

Sunday, 5 February 2012


This past fortnight I have been on a little break from running with a few health problems.So my last 2 weeks looked like this...3 doctors visits,blood tests more tests,prescription painkillers and a week of vomiting and nausea.Oh and did I mention a crippling back pain in which I could hardly breathe!!
So between all my Doctors visits and everything else I paid a trip to my trusty Physio,Leon Raath in .As soon as he started to examine my back he knew I was in trouble and came straight out and said "keith we're gonna have to stick some needles in there".So Leon got to work doing what he does best.My back was in so much spasm the needles started to bend!That will give you an idea of the kind of pain I was in.I went in to Leon doubled over in agony and after just one session I felt a massive improvement.The following 2 days he kindly fitted me in to his very busy schedule and after just 3 sessions with Leon I was back running again.

Any sports person who puts themselves through the rigours of a tough training regime needs to look after there bodies through intelligent training,proper diet and also proper maintenance of the muscoskeletal system.This is where a physio comes in.A regular visit even when you are feeling fine will keep the body well serviced and ready to withstand the next block of training.

To think this time last week I could hardly sit down and breathe I was in such pain.Now I am back in training again and getting geared up for my next race.I may have lost a couple of weeks training but at least it was only a couple.And to that I owe a big thank you to my physio Leon,who continues to support me and play a major role in my running.