Local stars are energised to take on world's best in Belfast battle
Belfast is gearing up for one of the toughest running challenges in the world - 100 runners from around the world will compete in a 24 hour race around Victoria Park in Belfast today and tomorrow.
The Energia24 race will be a forerunner to 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.
Competitors representing 13 nations and a total of 25 Irish counties will compete against a field of international runners in the endurance race, previously staged at the Mary Peters Track.
They will be running as many laps of the one-mile circuit as they can in 24 hours. Generators and floodlights will be in place to ensure the night time part of the event runs smoothly with 12-hour, 100k and relays also well supported.
Race Director Ed Smith said: "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.
"It's great to have the use of this upgraded facility - part of the Connswater Regeneration - and with the support of Belfast City Council alongside our title sponsor Energia who have been with us from the start."
Michael Ringland, Marketing Manager of Energia, added: "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."