More than 100 runners from all over the island of Ireland, the UK and abroad are set to compete in the ultimate endurance test next weekend for the Energia 24-Hour race at the Victoria Park Track in East Belfast.
Billed by Energia as ‘one of the toughest running challenges in the world’, the Energia 24-hour race will see competitors run as many laps of the 400m race track as they can in 24 hours.
This year’s Energia24 is seen as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the premier event in the sport - the International Association of Ultrarunners 24-Hr World Championships which will be held in Victoria Park in July 2017.
World officials will be on hand in Belfast this week giving the Northern Ireland event a once-over stress test in advance.
Race Director Ed Smith says: “We’re delighted at the size and the quality of the field and at the same time all too aware that we are under the world microscope having to deal with a whole new environment in Victoria Park. We already know the circuit is well-used by runners through the success of Park Run - which will go on as normal on Saturday morning ahead of the start of the 24 hour race at noon,” he says.
“It’s great to have the use of this upgraded facility - part of the Connswater Regeneration - and with it the support of Belfast City Council alongside our title sponsor Energia, who have been with us from the start when we had 18 entries. Pure Running, Water Within, the international Association of Ultra Runners and the athletics federations north and south are also involved.”
Title sponsors Energia, the leading gas and electricity suppliers, have backed the 24-hour race from day one. Michael Ringland, Marketing Manager, Energia said: “We hope our sponsorship helps to energise this year’s fantastic event once more. It really is completely different from anything out there on the Irish sporting calendar. Best of luck to all the competitors.”
The event carries a Silver Label from the World Governing Body and is grant-aided by Belfast City Council and supported by Pure Running.