Belfast Telegraph

Sensational Sandra (70) sets two new World records at Victoria Park

 

Simply the best: Sandra Brown was in record-breaking form at Victoria Park
Simply the best: Sandra Brown was in record-breaking form at Victoria Park
Eoin Keith and Paula Wright
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

At her last ever Energia 24-hour race, 70-year-old Sandra Brown produced a sparkling performance to break two world records at Victoria Park.

The Dorset woman firstly broke the 100-mile mark in just 21 hours, 15 minutes and 33 seconds - the 204th time she had gone over 100 miles in a race - before going on to beat Shirley Young's long-standing world age-group record for the 24 hours.

By the time the race had finished, Brown had travelled nearly four miles further than Young's record, hitting just over 113 miles (182km), and amazingly she didn't run once, walking the entire distance.

Defying her age, Brown's performance saw her finish in a very impressive 24th place in the overall standings in a field that had 225 runners set off from the starting line.

In all, Brown's record-breaking feats mean that four world records have been set at Victoria Park in the last three years, which has put the Energia24 into the Guinness Book of Records.

At the top of the field, it was an absorbing battle for the three podium places, with three Cork men in the running until the very end.

Padraig Mullins, who had flown in especially from Boston for the event, had led for most of the race as he aimed to impress the Irish selectors ahead of October's World Championships in France.

However, his lead was quickly overtaken by defending champion Aidan Hogan, who strode on to build a substantial lead heading into the latter stages.

But in a dramatic late twist, Hogan began to struggle due to exhaustion, which allowed Eoin Keith - who had been considering quitting around 1am - to overtake him and surge on to win his fourth national title, finishing the race with a total distance of 146 miles (235km).

Hogan did hold on for second at 142 miles (228km), while Mullins came home in third at 139 miles (223km).

In the women's race there was also plenty of drama as Therese Falk of Norway had led for substantial parts of the contest, only to see Finnish competitor Paula Wright finish strongly and take the victory at 136 miles (218km).

Falk did take silver at 135 miles (216km), while Newtownabbey's Louise Smart came home in third at 132 miles (213km).

Rosslare's Lorraine McMahon also eclipsed the 130 mile mark (210km), meaning four women finished in the top-10 of the overall standings.

Meanwhile, the Willowfield quartet of Tim Brownlie, David Proctor, Gary Morrow and Neil Weir smashed the previous team relay record of 193 miles.

The Dublin Bay Running Club record, set at the Mary Peters Track back in 2015, proved no match for the four as they added another 15 miles onto it, finishing at 208 miles (335km), which will likely not be broken for a long time.

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