Mixed with a quality Irish field and also some internationals, going through the numbers in my head working out the lap times and the thought of running 24hrs was a big ask! Into the unknown I would go with some experience of 16 hrs in a 100 mile but physically not being able to train for this distance the mental piece was key.
Without going into the bore of the laps it was a case of just keep running circles with minimal breaks. All of which felt fine until the night time when it got harder, with the heat been on the runners all day, I was struggling to take too much fluid on. Like with the Thames Path ended up with urine issues and then scared to drink so I resorted to ice lollies, some banana with peanut butter, a little tailwind hydration and a porridge pot. Music also became key during the race for the 12am-5am slot and the rest I just had to run around and stay focused until the gun at 24hrs sounded. Easy really…..
Surprisingly I took less flat coke than expected on but did add some salt to the watermelon that also went down well. For Caffeine I had some tablets every 6 hours or so to keep myself alert, a few times I was off the mark but as dawn started to break so did my ability to get back on it again. Having led from the start to finish I was delighted to complete 24hrs in a respectable 220.249km (136.9 miles) and 15k ahead of the next lady. Looking back in hindsight I could definitely run further, I know what food/nutrition works and how to run a better race and including considering the surface which for Belfast very hard, at a camber and with glazed stones.
Race report in Ireland:
“Ireland’s Aidan Hogan and current British 100k Champion Samantha Amend (England) claimed top honours as standards continued to rise with the mercury at the Energia 24-hour International in Victoria Park, Belfast at the weekend (Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June 2018).
The event also incorporated the AAI National 24-hour Championships, with overall winner Aidan taking the men’s gold and Northern Ireland’s Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) securing the ladies title.
The increasingly popular event, which hosted the IAU World Championships last year, also had a 12-hour race, a 100k race, and an exciting 24-hour Team Relay.
In the flagship 24-hour race, there were personal bests all over the park as the top 10 finishers all went past 200k and some 53 claimed those coveted jackets for reaching 100 miles – a record outside of last year’s World Championship. And, 8 women placed in the top 20 overall.”
Start of Belfast 24hr Race