Energia 24-hr Relay 2016

Introduction courtesy of NI Running website.

Over the course of Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June 2016 hundreds of athletes will descend on Victoria Park in Belfast for the popular and well-organised Energia 24 hour Race, which once again incorporates the Athletics Ireland National 24 hour Championships. A new venue, a new date, a record entry and a World Championship to come next year has breathed much new oxygen into the 7th running of the event. And, it’s oxygen the athletes will need plenty of as they look down the barrel of 24 hours of non-stop running that could mean the completion of some six marathons back-to-back, that’s more than 150 miles and with it a National title and international recognition.

After 6 years at the Mary Peters’ Track, Energia24 moves to a 1 mile (1.7k) circuit in Victoria Park in East Belfast in search of more space. It’s a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the premier event in the sport, the 24 hour World Championships, and world officials will be on hand giving it the once-over stress test. Perhaps in anticipation of that, the 24-entry list has doubled from last year to just under 100 with the 12-hour, 100k and Relays also well supported. The competitors will represent 13 nations, 25 Irish counties and the best represented club will be Dublin Bay Runners.

Race Director Ed Smith says: “We are delighted at the size and the quality of the field and at the same time all too aware that we are under the world microscope and having to deal with a whole new environment in Victoria Park which will include bringing in over 100 lights powered by 20 generators for the night time phase of the event. Much attention in the 12-hour race will be on Jan-Albert Lantink from the Netherlands. The 55-year-old will be attempting 3 world records at 12-hours, 100km and 100 miles and is laying on his own official doping control to ensure any record will be ratified.

What an event, what a task for each runner and team and, what an effort by all the support crews involved. Orangegrove AC’s help and generosity was evident even before this race when Jan-Albert Lantink hooked up with a few OG members and team skipper to show him around and run with him as he built up to his World Record attempts.

They say a day is a long time in politics….but its nothing compared to this 24 hours!! Our own heroes and record-breakers who were putting their bodies on the line were Kerris Hamilton, Ian Millgate, Andrew Allen and Michael O’Donoghue. We salute you…for even thinking about it, never mind attempting and completing it!

Yes, our fabulous four braved multiple laps, creaking kneecaps, insufficient naps, energy saps, irritating jock straps (ok I made that up) but enjoyed the plenty of cheers and claps, some cheeky Orangegrove chaps and Sharon’s bacon baps.

Kerris, Ian, Andrew and Michael performed admirably, ran with smiles and good humour and are held in awe by us all after representing themselves and their club in the most outstanding fashion. A fantastic achievement and well done to you all for running from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday finishing fourth overall and having completed a total of 153 laps of Victoria Park and 254 kms or 157.2 miles!

Clonmel AC won the Team Relay reaching 175.6 miles. Jan-Albert Lantink won the 100k in 7:07:26; Mark Walker won the 12 Hour getting to 75 miles and; Eoin Keith won the 24 Hour reaching 150 miles.

As much as we’d like to thank Kerris, Ian, Andrew and Michael for their extraordinary efforts I think I can speak for them and pass on their thanks for the help, encouragement, advice and nourishment they received from the support crew. Well done to any and all who aided in any way.

Thanks to Sharon McFarland, Gillian Logan, Mark Williamson, Sharon Corken, Heather Shanks-Miller, Kerris Hamilton, Elizabeth Leitch, Alan Montgomery, Robin Montgomery, Michael O’Donoghue, Reg Sanlon, Chris Downey, Gerald Harvey and Ian Millgate for the photos.