Donadea National 50km Championships

Published in Results on 15th February 2014

The Irish National 50km Championships were heldĀ on a muddy but runable courseĀ in Donadea Forest Park this morning. Respresenting Athenry AC were David Noone, Valerie Glavin, Maeve Noone, Ed Egan & Siobhan Guinan who was making her first foray into ultra running.

David Noone was first home of the club members in a time of 3.58.03, a 3 minute PB & just rewards after a hard 4 months of various niggles & illness. He was placed 30th overall & 29th male in the Irish National Championships. That's some performance when you look at the field of accomplished ultra runners who finished ahead of him; Eoin Keith, Gary O'Hanlon, Rory & Peter Mooney, Thomas Bubendorfer & John O'Regan are just some of the names on the list who would be regular podium finishers over marathon & ultra distances.

Next up was Maeve Noone in a time of 4.36.28. It was a very consistent run throughout & a time which gave her 8th position in the National Championships. Ed Egan came in just under the 5 hour mark with a 4.56.21 & Siobhan Guinan followed soon after with a 5.04.35. This was Siobhan's first attempt at an ultra distance & only her second marathon distance.

Valerie Glavin notched up 25km on her continuing return to the ultra running fold before she called it a day but it surely won't be long before she has racked up enough miles in the legs to be back challenging in these races.

The race was won by Gary O'Hanlon on his debut in an ultra distance. His time of 2.59.19 was enough to give him the second fastest time in Europe this year (31 seconds off top spot) & gained him a spot at the 50k world champioships. Gary only found out last week that someone entered him in this race & had no specific training done for it, it bodes well for the 'worlds' with a structured plan in place.

Orna Dilworth of Sportsworld was first female in 3.43.16 & also claims a World Championship slot. Good luck to both!!

Gary O'Hanlon deserves a special mention as someone who can be held up as an inspiration to us all as we go through our (what seem to us at the time) endless injuries. Gary was a promising junior athlete back in the 90's & went unbeaten in schools athletics between 1990 & 1992, also setting national records in that time. Whilst out on a training run as a 17 year old, he was knocked down in a near fatal accident which left him with brain & facial injuries. For the next six years he had to undergo intensive rehab, not knowing if he would ever be able to run again. He battled chronic pain & depression during this time but eventually, with the help of his coaches in Clonliffe Harriers, he made a return to athletics. Over twenty years after the accident he is now regarded as one of the top marathon runners in the country & has multiple wins to his name.

Everyone at Athenry AC wishes him the best in his World Championship exploits where he is sure to be regarded as one of the favourites.