Atlas Running – Last One Standing 2018:
Over the course of this weekend (Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February 2018), Atlas Running, the brainchild of running enthusiasts and brothers, Sammy and Adrian Daye, hosted their 3rd annual ‘Last One Standing’ endurance event at the scenic Castle Ward Estate in County Down.
As part of the race programme, there were also two associated events, the Castle Ward 4.2 mile and 8.4 mile Trail Races.
The unique endurance spectacle, saw athletes take to the start-line at 12pm on Saturday – the runners had one hour to complete a 4.2 mile lap and then had to be back at the start line ready to go again at 1pm, then again at 2pm and so on. Any runner not finishing the 4.2 mile lap inside the time limit and back on the line ready to start again on the next hour was disqualified.
The theory is that this would happen every hour until only one runner returned to the start line, at which point that runner would have to complete a solo lap inside the time limit to be crowned the winner. All runners with the exception of the winner would then be awarded an official DNF (did not finish) medal and any competitor still in the race at 24hrs (100.8 mile) received an Atlas Running 100 mile medal.
After 24 hours, 14 runners went through the 100.8 mile mark, at which point seven runners dropped out and one timed out, leaving six hardy souls to proceed into day two of the event.
The last remaining lady, former AAI National 24 hour Champion Louise Smart (County Antrim Harriers) completed one more lap, finishing on 105 miles. Louise retained her ‘Last One Standing’ ladies title from 2017.
Andy Persson (Southville Running Club) made it through the next lap before withdrawing, leaving four men – Peter Cromie (Roe Valley CC), Bobbie Irvine (Seapark AC), Stu Wilkie (Mud Crew Ultra Team) and Sean Nickell (North Down AC), all respected endurance specialists.
North Down AC athlete Sean withdrew after 28 laps (117.6 miles), which left it to the final three, Peter, Stu and Bobbie. For the next three hours the men relentlessly covered the 4.2 mile course, making it back to the start line for the next hour. That was until Stu dropped out having completed 32 hours of running and 134.4 miles. This left just Peter and Bobbie to battle it out for the top prize, but more importantly, the honour of being the ‘Last One Standing’ – three more hours passed until anything changed, when in Lap 34, former winner of the event Bobbie timed out with a 1:02:45 lap.
Bobbie bowed out having run 142.8 miles! Now, Peter had to complete a solo lap to take the title. Would he do it? Of course he would, in 42:00, one of the fastest laps of the day!
Peter Cromie was then crowned ‘Last One Standing’ male Champion for 2018 with 147 miles covered in 35 hours, joining the earlier crowned ladies Champion Louise Smart on top of the podium.
Just over one hundred athletes supported the associated 4.2 mile and 8.4 mile trail races, which covered one and two laps of the same route as the ‘Last One Standing’ event.
In the 8.4 mile event, Willowfield Harriers duo Duncan Bell and Russell Hughes were awarded joint 1st place, crossing the line in 50:22. Catherine Roberts of North Down AC led the ladies home in 1:00:11 (1st place).
Karen Wilton (Jog Lisburn) was the star of the show in the 4.2 mile race, leading the field home in 26:56 (1st place), nearly a minute clear of her nearest rival. Kyle Ross (Unattached) followed in 27:39 (1st place) to win the men’s race.
Full Results: Last One Standing 2018 Results