Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Heroic woman completes 24 hour race after collapse

A south Belfast woman who collapsed during a 24 hour endurance run went on to complete an incredible 86 miles.

Susan McCartney, and her brother Tim Brownlie both took part in the Energia Belfast 24 hour race at the weekend to raise funds for their mother, Una’s charity, the Livingstone Appeal, which helps children orphaned by AIDs in Malawi. Tim was among those to cover 100 miles, despite the heat.

Susan collapsed in the middle of the track after 12 hours of running. She spent four hours receiving treatment from paramedics and resting before going out and completing the race.

“I didn‘t make the 100 mile mark but my brother did,” said Susan.

“We had been doing marathons and things and wanted to push ourselves further.”

She said her experience at the 24 hour race was 100 times harder than the marathon or other races she had taken part in.

“I actually fainted when I collapsed, and I had to take a few hours out.

“It was because I didn’t have enough blood sugar, and the event was gruelling and tough.

“It was difficult and I walked for the last hour, but up until then I had been running three laps and walking one.”

She said: “When it got to the last four or five hours half of me was saying ‘Only five hours left to go’ and the other was saying ‘There are five whole hours left to go’.

“It was very intense — there is something good about it, next year I’ll be trying to get 100 miles — but 86 miles is the furthest I’ve gone yet.

“It was a very cold night— but the night was my strongest bit, when the sun started to come up I just lost it, I was dying for some porridge.

“I had been eating bananas, and sweets — anything with sugar, but there were people who had ordered pizzas,” she said.

“It was a fantastic event — I coundn’t praise the organisers enough.

“It was very friendly and relaxed and the people were so encouraging.”

She said: “We have no final figure yet for what we raised because a lot of it is sponsorship — but we’re hoping it will come close to £600.”

Race director Ed Smith said: “If there is a harder one day event in Ireland I’d like to see it. There were some true heroics going on out there.

“It’s mind over matter and the miles covered were amazing – especially with a very cold night and a very hot day to cope with.

“Well done to them all,” he added.

Michael Ringland, from race sponsor Energia said: “Each of the athletes has shown incredible stamina to set such impressive distances during the race.

“This year’s event demonstrated the excellent athletic ability within Northern Ireland with 20 of the competitors originally from here.

“We hope their determination will inspire others to test their physical and mental strength in next year’s event, against Ultra runners from across Europe.”

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