For the first time ever, the World 24-Hour Running Championships, to be staged in Belfast, Northern Ireland on July 1, 2017, will include Masters age-groups.
This was agreed at the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) Executive Council meeting in Monaco in concert with the World Masters Association (WMA).
“The inclusion of the age-groups is sure to increase the interest and intrigue in Belfast this summer,” stated Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson Ed Smith. “Because of a restriction on numbers on the Victoria Park course, the entry will be limited to athletes who will be selected for their national teams or who have already secured a place in the Open Race which will sit alongside the World Championship – but it presents a great incentive to make it onto the podium and even capture a world age-group title.”
IAU General Secretary Hilary Walker, who is Project Coordinator for the Championship in Belfast, says: “We have held the WMA 100K Championships in conjunction with the IAU 100K World Championships very successfully for the past few years. We are now extending the competitions to include the equally important 24 hours event as many outstanding athletes have requested this. This will bring added excitement to the weekend.”
Brian Keaveney, Vice President for Competitions at the WMA says: “The 24 Hour Race is a first for the World Masters. We are excited to be part of the race and thrilled that our Master‘s Athletes have an opportunity to win medals in each of their 5 year age groups“.
Details of how eligible athletes can opt into the age-groups will be announced at a later date. The 12th IAU World 24-Hour Running Championships starts at 12:00 noon on Saturday, July 1 in the regeneration docklands area of Belfast close to the Titanic Quarter. The Championship is run every two years and the ultra-athletes are expected to go beyond 160 miles (257 km).
This year promises to be a big year for athletics in the British Isles with the IPC World Championships for Para athletes coming to the Olympic Park in London from July 15-23 to be followed by the IAAF World Championships from August 5-13.
More information, visit www.belfast24.com