People often shake their heads when they hear you are about to run a marathon. Mayo AC's John Byrne is well used to dedicated preparation. He has been their most successful athlete over many years now at a range of distances from 5k upwards. He has completed 24 marathons and a 50k. Over the past year John has moved on to new goals. Given the number of training miles he runs it seemed a natural step-up that he would progress 'beyond the marathon', or that zone defined as ultra distance running. The 100k is the equivalent of running two marathons plus ten miles - 62.5 miles in total. Start out in Ballaghaderreen, run along the N5 to Bohola, take a diversion down to John's homeplace in Straide, then back onto N5 at Ballyvary, through Castlebar and Westport, then on to the R335 until you hit Louisburgh - you will still have 3k to run to complete 100k!
Having competed in a 50k race in Galway last summer, John was selected on the Irish team for the IAU 100k World Championships in Gibraltar last November. John says the motivation to run ultra is "simply to wear an Irish vest at senior level, not something I'd have the talent to achieve at shorter distances". So John was rightly proud to wear that vest in Gibraltar and complete his first 100k - 60th place of 92 finishers in 8.03.01 And this just two weeks after the Dublin marathon.
This weekend he is on the Irish team for the Anglo Celtic Plate Home Nations 100k race which takes place in Perth in Scotland on Sunday March 27. It has an early 7am start. In preparation, John has averaged 80 miles a week in training since Christmas, with a peak of 113 miles in one week.
Good performances for Mayo athletes in Craughwell ten-mile event
In the Craughwell AC 10-mile event, Ballina AC’s Roger Barrett was the first Mayo man across the line in a time of 54 minutes dead to claim fourth place in the Galway venue. The next Mayo man over the line was Mayo AC’s Brendan Gill from Westport, just over two minutes behind Barrett who came home in ninth place, Anto Devaney was three places further back a time of 57.71. Mayo AC’s Colette Tuohy was the winner of the female o40s section in a time of 64.32, which put her in fourth place overall also. Ballina AC’s Michael Canty came home in 17th place in a time of 58.24, with his club-mate Seán Gallagher only two places further back a time of 58.41. Other Mayo athletes taking part in the event were Brendan Hession, Tom Hunt, Owen Mongan, Patricia Gallagher, Christy O’Malley, Colette Whelan, John Timothy, Mary Walsh, Kevin Timothy, Niall Cawley, Gerry Gallagher, John O’Brien, Gerry Devaney.
Top marks in Tubbercurry 10k for Mayo runners
Only a couple of days before the Craughwell 10k, numerous Mayo athletes made the short hop to Tubbercurry for the St Patrick’s Day 10k event. This was the first event in the newly formed Sligo Road Race League which will have eight events taking place from March to October this year. Ballina AC’s Roger Barrett was the first man over the line in a personal best time of 32.50, he was followed home by Mayo AC’s John Byrne in second place. Seán Gallagher from Ballina AC came home in eighth place in a time of 34.56. Mayo AC’s Tom Hunt took the o60 win in a time of 40.11. In the ladies event Ann Murray of Mayo AC’s in the o45 section in a time of 44.34, while Mary Naylor claimed the o50 event win. In the men’s team event Mayo AC came second to North Sligo.