European & World 100km Championships
John Byrne turned in another sterling performance in Seregno near Milan on Sunday, finishing 33rd in 7:16:27 in the World & European 100k Championships. This was his best finishing place and time in his third Championship race. In turn he helped the Irish team to a superb 6th place finish in the World section and 5th in Europe.
The Irish team captain Daniel Doherty, finished 23rd with a pb of 7:07:26 and Keith White was the third scorer in 37th place in 7:25:56, also a pb. Their cumulative time of 21.49.49 is a new Irish men’s team record. The race was won by 2011 champion, Giorgio Calcaterra from Italy in a time of 6:23:21. The women’s race was won by Amy Sproston, U.S.A 7:34:08. This epic endurance test – two marathons followed by 10 miles – was an amazing sight with all the agony and ecstasy building as the race reached the final kilometres.The race started at 8.30 a.m and the temperature increased during the afternoon. The course – 5 x 20k laps – wound its way through local villages, parks and cycle tracks with aid stations every five kilometres. John Byrne called on all his reserves of mental and physical strength amid twists and turns of the 20k course. As the fifth lap began many faltered and places changed dramatically. Of the 323 starters, just 220 finished. To get an idea of this ultra distance and his performance, John’s run was the equivalent of running from Turlough House to th Shannon at Termonbarry at 7 minute mile pace.
The whole Irish team performed brilliantly. USA based Michael Collins finished 5th in the o45 category in 7:43.14.
John O’Regan, Irish 24 hour champion, was next home in 8:51:24. Ireland’s only woman competitor, USA based, Helen Lavin (a native of Castlebaldwin in Sligo) finished in great style in 8:54:38, 32nd of the 55 women finishers. Two of the 8 Irish participants had to pull out though injury. Jim McCormick, who was competing as an individual, had hip problems and stopped at 40k. Thomas Maguire also retired at 40k. However, his 2006 100k Irish record of 7:o5:06 set in Seoul, remains intact.