Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Report on the Irish 24 Hour Alex O'Shea

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Report on the Irish 24 Hour Alex O'Shea

Cork runner Alex O'Shea ran a staggering 150 miles in the Irish 24 Hour Championships in Belfast last weekend.  This is his report on the event...

Belfast 24hr... it has been amazing.
I finished and that's an achievement in its own at this kind of event.
Last year I had been sick the week before the event so felt I under performed & as it was my first time I made things hard for myself not knowing very much about it & had to walk at times but managed to recover some what and achieve the Irish Selection Standard.

This year was a different story it was not just an open race & national championships it was also to play host to the world championships.

I had hoped to get called up to the Irish Team but narrowly missed out. So I focused on the races that were open to me the open race, national championships & world age category.

So a year on I was back I was injury free feeling good & had learned some lessons the hard way last year. Ok with only 1 24hr event under my belt I certainly wasn't an expert but I was learning things fast. This year instead of being the new guy making all the mistakes I was more confident & felt I could do better that's not to say I didn't make mistakes or can't improve, and it was great to see the best athletes in the world perform & learn from them as the event also hosted the world championships.

I am also fortunate to train with fellow ultra runners Aidan Hogan & Jan Uzik based in Cork. On the day We had wind rain & sun and many a good athlete under performed for various reasons. In 24hrs anything can happen.

You had nations like Brazil that were clearly frozen in our climate but a supper bunch.
Some great athletes I know vastly under performed on what was to be their first 24hr event ability is only part of the package. A friend of mine Nathan Flear traveled over from Wales with his wife to crewing & as it turned out Nathan's story was so similar to my experience last year having been sick the week before the race & now competing in his first 24hr event a huge leap into the unknown mistakes and ability in equal measures. Nathan will compete in Spartathlon later in the year and I look forward to following his progress definitely an athlete on the up. With a 24hr event you need things to go right from race prep.

Having kit for all weather and a support crew that can help u achieve your goals & adapt quickly to your changing needs. It was like a formula 1 pit crew when 10hrs in I had to deal with what was to be my first blister.. I ran by and informed them the issue and they then had the time it took me to come back around to be set up and ready to deal with me.

So in access the blister decide course of action treat it and go.. This was new for me as I hadn't had blisters the previous year but had been prepared for it. This weekend the hard work dedication great crew and supporters joined together to help me achieve so much.

Crew Audrey O'Shea...
Joining forces with MCI Members & Don Hannon to make a supper crew. but of course the amazing thing about this kind of race is the respect & team work between crews and athletes.
Sport transcends a lot of political crap in the world. Eg Team America cheering on team Mexico and not a mention of a wall..

But all jokes aside the support was great from everyone. Members of the Irish support team also gave me plenty of shoutouts & encouragement as I passed lap after lap & it was great to see my training partner Aidan in an Irish vest again.

Amazing support with people messaging my phone to fellow runners some of which I count as friends and some I didn't know before, but it was a shared experience. A big thanks to the Dubs at the race that to be fair all must love cork as they always set up next to the Cork Flag & give me great support you know who u are Ger & crew thanks all.

Having shout outs and support is great & can be very positive in your race. This is why I had some kit printed with my name and a few logos printed ( Stan Notte you did an amazing job I had some of the best kit at the race) I may not always acknowledge but I do appreciate all the shout outs & when the final countdown was on I would have loved to hi 5 them all but for me I wanted to get as far as I could go it was head down and give it everything if I could still run thats what I was going to do.
24hrs done u stop and place a no u have been given on the ground so any extra distance can be measured and added to your full laps to give your total.. So I placed my number on the ground and went and grabbed my Cork flag and jogged one last lap this was a cool down lap and my moment to enjoy it and thank people for their support. The mile circuit was now littered with the bodies of tired ultra runners everywhere the majority of which just had nothing left to give so when the final hotter sounded they dropped like a sack of spuds yet somehow they managed a smile & some even applauded me, maybe they thought I won? Or maybe they were just applauding the fact I could still move I don't know ...

If I was to try write a race report in detail hour by hour that would be a longer endurance event than the race so I will spare u. A big thanks to the organisers for organising a world championships in Ireland that we got to be part of.

Ok it had some IT issues race day and the results were slow but at this stage the organisers have had more sleepless nights than the runners & are still answering emails texts & posting lost and found pictures etc. I can't imagine the work that goes on to organise such an event hats off to all the volunteers.

My Results
1st in the open race category
3rd in the National Championships
Having lead the race for 22hrs it was a battle to the end with Eoin giving me and Tim a master class in 24hr endurance running.

Eoin Keith also broke his previous personal best of 152.07 miles

1st Eoin Keith 153.352 miles
2nd Tim Brownlie 150.79 miles
3rd Alex O Shea 150.75 miles
4th Eddie Gallon 138.318 miles
5th Aidan Hogan 136.119 miles
6th Darragh O Loughlin 131.622miles

World age category championships
Placing has been confirmed as
6th O/40

Only my 2nd ever 24hr race ok I wasn't in an Irish vest competing but I learned more & continued to show my versatility learning from the best in the world & now hungry to compete amounts them...
New dreams

Congratulations to all that took part & I hope you reached your goals.

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