ATHLETICS: Louise Smart becomes Irish champion after gruelling 24-hour race

Louise Smart at Energia 24 Hour race. INLT 26-912-CON
Louise Smart at Energia 24 Hour race. INLT 26-912-CON

Louise Smart made club history at the weekend when she became Irish champion at the prestigious Energia 24-hour race held at Victoria Park.

The event, which was her first attempt over the distance, is Ireland’s only 24-hour race incorporated in Athletics Ireland National 24-hour Championship and it attracted a large international field.

Each lap of the park is just over one mile and the winner was the competitor who recorded the greatest distance in 24 hours.

The gruelling event pushes competitors both physically and mentally, and Louise excelled, completing over 123 laps, equating to 126.3 miles / 204Km, between midday Saturday and midday Sunday - that’s more than the distance from Ballyclare to Dublin!

Not only was she first female, but overall she finished in the top 10. Her outstanding win also qualifies her for international try-out. Everyone at County Antrim Harriers is extremely proud of Louise and her magnificent achievement.

Also over the weekend, Stephen Semple and Michael Ogliby were in action at Ards Half Marathon, which took place on Friday evening.

The undulating course did not deter the men, with Stephen finishing in 1:41:32; and Michael, despite a progressively worsening injury, crossing the line in 2:44:01.

On Saturday Christine Murray ran strongly and was delighted to be second female in the Pure Running Divis 10-mile Challenge, hosted by North Belfast Harriers. While, Marian Hayes, supported by many club members, celebrated her 100th parkrun at Waterworks.

Natasha Henderson was in action and performed well at Fields of Life 10k (49:47).