His journey has included many successes, winning races at a range of distances from 5k to the marathon. His success continues to be an inspiration.
Last year, the popular Straide man ventured into new territory – that
zone known at ultra or ‘beyond the marathon’. We are now getting used
to events that many would call extreme. For a number of athletes they
offer the opportunity to undertake new mental and physical challenges.
These events have been in existence for many years but are now
becoming more competitive.
John competed in his first ultra the World Trophy 50k race in Galway
last summer. He was selected on the Irish team for the IAU 100k World
Championships in Gibraltar last November. He says the motivation to
run ultra is “simply to wear an Irish vest at senior level, not
something I’d have the talent to achieve at shorter distances”. So
John was rightly proud to wear
that vest in Gibraltar and complete his first 100k – 60th place of 92
finishers in 8hr 03,01. And this just two weeks after the Dublin
Then last March he ran his second 100k as part of Irish team in the
Anglo-Celtic Plate in Perth. It was probably his best performance ever
– leading Irish finisher, 3rd overall, his 7hr 09:33 was the second
fastest 100k time by an Irishman – only five minutes outsider
team-mate Thomas Maguire’s record. John captained the Irish team at
the World Trail Championships in July in Connemara but dropped out
after 50k of the tough 71k mountain and bog course – ‘horses for
courses’ was his verdict.
He goes to Holland with a lot of confidence with hundreds of miles of
training completed out the Windy Gap from his Castlebar base. His
preparation included the Cork Marathon in June and more recently the
BogTrotter’s Marathon in Strokestown which he won. In between he ran
in a few local races including the Claremorris 5k Fif4Life race last
week which he won in 16.07.
Keith Whyte from Ennis is one of his team mates and he won the Ultra
Marathon (39.3 miles) in Longford last week in 4:16:57, while Daniel
Doherty won the Round Jersey 48 mile race last month and John O’Regan
won the 24 hour race in Belfast in July.
The race takes place on Saturday 10th September in Winschoten north
east Holland and there are well over 500 entries from around the
world. The course is over 10k, flat and traffic free – quite different
from the 2.4k lap in Perth.
This is the Irish team, with their best 100k times appended:
84 Byrne, John 7:09:33 2011
85 Doherty, Daniel 7:19:29 2011
86 O’Neill, Chris
87 O’Regan, John M40 8:11:49 2011
88 Rea, Martin 7:21:42 2007
89 Whyte, Keith 7:28:59 2011
It is a great honour for Mayo AC to have John competing at this level
on the world stage – we all wish him the best of luck.
You can check out the race and results at www.winschoten.nl and here on