IAU 24-Hour World Championships 2017:
Patrycja Bereznowska (Poland) covered a new World and European record distance of 160.53 miles as she and Yoshihika Ishikawa (Japan) were crowned World Champions at the IAU 24-hour World Championships in Belfast.
The prestigious event, which was held in Victoria Park, also incorporated the World Masters 24-hour Championships as well as the AAI National 24-hour Championships. Nearly 400 of the world’s best ultra-distance athletes from 42 countries took part in what was an excellent spectacle for local sport.
It was in the second half of the classic endurance test when Patrycja Bereznowska made her mark on the race. After American Katalin Nagy led during the early exchange, current World and European record holder Patrycja showed her class, bettering her own records when covering a new personal best distance of 160.53 miles (258.3k); breaking through the 160 miles barrier is a significant step for ladies 24-hour running.
It looked like Katalin would secure 2nd place and the associated silver medal – however, an impressive finish saw Poland’s Aleksandra Niwinska catch and pass Katalin to finish on 156.02 miles. Katalin was forced to settle for 3rd place with 154.71 miles to her name.
In the race for the AAI National 24-hour title, respected Irish athlete Amy Masner topped the podium with 142.04 miles (7th place overall and 1st place AAI competitor). Northern Ireland duo Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) and Susan McCartney (BARF) secured silver and bronze medals respectively. Louise picked up silver after covering 127.76 miles for 38th place overall (and 2nd place AAI competitor), while Susan completed 126.69 (40th place overall and 3rd place AAI competitor) to complete the National Championship podium.
The men’s race went to the wire, with only metres separating winner Yoshihika Ishikawa and Sweden’s Johan Steene after the full day of running – infact, it took some time for the confirmation of the result to be ratified. Yoshihika came through late, passing then leader Tamas Rudolf (Hungary) with under two hours remaining. Just when it looked like he had cemented top spot, Yoshihika received a scare when Johan surged through with minutes remaining. Just one minute remained when Johan entered his final lap with Yoshihika in tow – somehow, the Japenese star managed to battle back to finish in the lead as the clock struck 24:00:00.
Yoshihika covered 166.27 miles (267.57k) for 1st place and the associated gold medal. Johan’s finishing distance of 165.61 miles saw him take 2nd place and break the long standing Swedish National record. Sebastian Bialobrzeski (Poland) completed the podium having covered 165.00 miles (3rd place).
Well-known ultra-runner Eoin Keith (Club Unknown) led the Ireland team home in terms of distance covered; he ran 153.35 miles (18th place overall and 1st place AAI). Northern Ireland’s Tim Brownlie (Willowfield Harriers) ran 150.79 miles for 26th place overall and 2nd place in the AAI competition. Alex O’Shea (Finbars AC), the open race winner at the event, recorded 149.87 miles for 1st place overall (and 3rd place in the AAI standings).
The aforementioned Alex O’Shea was the 1st place finisher in the adjoining Open Race, having covered a distance of 149.87 miles (1st place Open Race). California based athlete Stacey Costa took 1st place in the ladies Open Race with a finishing distance of 116.0 miles.
Podium Places – IAU 24-hour World Championships:
Top 3 Men: 1st Yoshihika Ishikawa (Japan) – 166.27 miles, 2nd Johan Steene (Sweden) – 165.61 miles, Sebastian Bialobrzeski (Poland) – 165.00 miles
Top 3 Men’s Teams: 1st Japan, 2nd Poland, 3rd USA
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Patrycja Bereznowska (Poland) – 160.53 miles, 2nd Aleksandra Niwinska – 156.02 miles, 3rd Katalin Nagy (USA) – 154.71 miles
Top 3 Ladies Teams: 1st USA, 2nd Poland, 3rd Germany
Podium Places – AAI National 24-hour Championships:
Top 3 Men: 1st Eoin Keith (Club Unknown) – 153.35 miles, 2nd Tim Brownlie (Willowfield Harriers) – 150.79 miles, 3rd Alex O’Shea (St Finbars AC) – 149.87 miles
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Amy Masner (Unattached) – 142.04 miles, 2nd Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) – 127.76 miles, 3rd Susan McCartney (BARF) – 126.93 miles