Wednesday, 25 April 2012

World Class Irish Team Result

John Byrne at the 2012 World 100km Championships in Seregno, Italy

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 new personal best time of 7:07:26 hrs for a top 25 placing.
                                                                Dan Doherty

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 to be 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 new 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.
However, 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.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

100k World Champs is around the corner

So it’s time to pack and get ready for the European & World 100km Championships in Italy on 22nd April. It should prove to be a great race with some very talented athletes attending. Giorgio Calcaterra, Michael Wardian, Marina Zhalybina and Ellie Greenwood will be battling it out, amongst many others.

From the Irish side of things, I have been given the honour of captaining the following team which will certainly start in a strong position:

John Byrne
Michael Collins
Daniel Doherty
Thomas Maguire
John O'Regan
Keith Whyte
Jim McCormick

Helen Lavin

The cumulative time of the top three finishers for each nation decides the outcome of the team competition for both the Worlds and European events.


It has been quite tough to prepare from a training perspective for the Worlds as at the same time I am having to condition myself for some coastal path and mountain events in June-August with perhaps another 100k on tarmac thrown in between. That said, I believe a mix of trail, road and mountain will do no harm!

From my own experience 100k events on tarmac can prove to be one of the most difficult ultra running disciplines to master. This is for many reasons but in the main it's due to the high intensity run over such a long period, on unforgiving ground (tarmac).

Unlike many trail or mountain ultras where there is plenty opportunity to compose yourself, vary your pace, hydrate and focus on nutrition (especially on the climbing parts and the like) 100k road usually requires a lot more focus with disciplined and calculated consumption of hydration and nutrition. Getting it wrong can be fatal to your time. In addition the tarmac is unforgiving and if your running gait is out of form you are going to know about it very quickly!

Many athletes on Sunday will be aiming to break the 7 hour mark. Allowing for fade (a negative split is truly amazing) you are looking at an average of 6:30 – 6:40 minute miles for 62 miles. That is no walking pace. This therefore places pressure on ensuring that hydration levels are kept up and nutrition is literally shoved down the throat! Ireland has an experienced and knowledgable support team which reduces the pressure a little especially later on in the game. Each athlete will pass 20 aid stations over the course of the 100k so there is a lot to think about.

Essentially, I will have various things available to me including:

a)     Elete Electrolyte add in concentrate and tablets
b)     Water
c)     Clif shot blox
d)     GU gels
e)     Jelly Babies

At each CP I will have a 250ml bottle of water that will have Elete – this is a vital piece of kit for me. Essentially it means I can take in the relevant electrolytes with the simple taste of water without having to consume a vast amount of ‘flavoured sports drink’ which certainly makes me feel sick and sticky over the course 7 hours. Throw in gels and it’s a total nightmare especially on a hot day. Elete also offer tablets which are simply taken with water and provide for measured electrolyte intake. I will take a couple of these through the race. Check out Elete here:

I will therefore cellotape the nutrition to the bottle (so I don’t have to fumble around for the nutrition) and mix it up so that during one 5-10k period I will be eating something solid (Clif) and the next section I will go for a gel. I might throw in a banana or something else if needed. For the final section, I will consume whatever I can, for example a few jelly babies/banana to get me to the finish line. Of course the key here is not to consume something too sugary too early to avoid the crashing.

Anyhow I thought I would share this with you, this is my plan but as with all ultras you never know what the day is going to throw at you which is what really makes this sport so exciting!!

You can get live updates of the race by visiting the IAU website here:

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Irish Invasion of the Lake District

Here is a wee slideshow of me and the lads in the Lake District in April. Ultra runner's heaven!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Irish Squad for 100k World and European Champs

Ultra Running Ireland has announced the squad for the 100km World & European Championships. It is an honour to be captain of such a strong team and with such talent! 

Ultra Running Ireland ( announcement:

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 competition.

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.

IRISH MEN'S TEAMJohn ByrneMichael CollinsDaniel DohertyThomas MaguireJohn O'ReganKeith WhyteJim McCormick*