Belfast Hosts World 24-Hour Championships. Plus weekend preview

Polish world record holder Patrycja Bernowska heads the women’s field at the IAU World 24-Hour Championships starting in Victoria Park,Belfast  tomorrow (Saturday, 12.0).

Eoin Keith

In February, Bernowska improved the eight-year-old record to 252.6 kms(159.2 miles) at the Polish Championships.

Among those taking her on this  weekend are current European champion Maria Jansson of Sweden and a strong American team led by the reigning world champion Katalin Nagy. Leading the Irish team is Ruthann Sheahan, who set an Irish record of 229kms(143 miles) when finishing seventh at the 2012 World Championships.

Defending his men’s title is Germany’s Florian Reus who has had a quiet year but ran 263.89kms(163.9miles) to win the World Championships in 2015 and then went on to finish first in the grueling Spartathlon in Greece. American Pete Kostelnick has a PB of 263.41 kms (163.68miles) while leading the British team is European champion Dan Lawson who covered 261.8kms(162.7miles) at last year’s European Championships and has spent last weekend enjoying himself at Glastonbury. He’s backed up by Robbie Britton, who has also run over 261.14kms/162.26miles in 24 hours.

Lithuania’s Alexsandr Sorokin,  is another who’s gone beyond 260km with 260.49kms/161.86miles in Athens last year.

Leading the Irish men is Madrid-based Northern Ireland native Eddie Gallen, who will run his 34th 24-hour race. Now aged 54,  Gallen Eddie has competed for Ireland at the last eight World Championships. He’s joined by national champion Eoin Keith, who last May ran the length of Ireland Mizen to Malin in just over 3 days and 3 hours. Keith holds the Irish 24-hour track record of 244.664 km which he set in in Belfast in 2013.

Some 42 nations will be represented in Belfast, with the competition incorporating the WMA World Masters Age-Groups Championships for the first time.

A FULL IRISH TEAM is competing at the Europeans Combined Events Cup in Monzon, Spain this weekend for the first time in many years.

Kate O’Connor

Leading the team are Irish champions Shane Aston of Trim AC and Amy McTeggart of Boyne AC. Also selected are Michael Bowler of Enniscorthy AC,  and Clonliffe’s Rolus Olusa of the men and Kate O’Connor of St Gerard’s AC  and Sarah Connolly of North Down AC of the women.

IN TULLAMORE, hundreds of Irish master athletes will assemble for the annual Irish Masters Track and Field Championship on Sunday, among them Kelly Neely (W35 400m,800m), Snezina Bechtina (W35 100m,200m,400m LJ), Denise Toner (W35 1500m), Damine Crawford (M40 throws),  Freda Davoran (W40 1500m), Jackie Carty (W45 1500m, 3000m) and Anne Gishinan (W50 800) all of them medal winners at European or world level. Big event of the season is the European Championships in Aarhus, Denmark.

A LARGE TEAM OF 20 ATHLETES, including men and women’s 4 x 400m relay teams, will compete at the European U23 Athletics Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland from July 13-16. Medals hopes include DSD’s Siofra Cleirigh Buttner  in the 800m and Adam King  of Iveragh in the hammer. Virtually all of them compete at the Irish Life Health Under 23 Championships in Tullamore tomorrow. Also in action tomorrow in the junior competition are Ciara Neville (sprints), Sharlene Mawdsley (sprints), Michaela Walsh (hammer, shot), Darragh McElhinney (1500m),Charlie O’Donovan (800m), Ryan Carthy Walsh (high jump), Cillin Green (sprints), Molly Scott (hurdles, sprints), Sarah Healy (1500m), Elizabeth Morland (hurdles, long jump) among many, many talented young athletes.

Irish team Euro U23:


400m:  Andrew Mellon (Crusaders),  Brandon Arrey (Blarney Iniscarra)  Harry Purcell (Trim ).

110mH:  Matthew Behan (Crusaders)

1500m:   Kevin Kelly (St Coca’s),    Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea)

5000m: Coscoran, Barry Keane (Waterford)

Shot: John Kelly (Finn Valley)

Hammer: Adam King (Iveragh), Owen Russell (St Andrew’s)

4x400m:  (from) Mellon, Arrey, Purcell, Craig Newell (Ballymena & Antrim), Paul White (Nenagh Olympic), Karl Griffin (UCD) .


100m: Sarah McCarthy (Mid Sutton)

200m: McCarthy,  Cliodhna Manning (KCH),  Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s)

400m: Jenna Bromell (Emerald), Sophie Becker (St,  Joseph’s)

800m: Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner (DSD) , Alanna Lally (UCD)

Pole Vault:  Sarah McKeever (DSD )

4x400m: Brommell, Becker, Lally, Cleirigh Buttner.

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