On Saturday 9th April the Compare NI Endurance Running Challenge took place in the beautiful private grounds of Florida Manor, near Killinchy Co. Down. Some 80 runners took part in a variety of races choosing from 5 or 10 km distances to 6, 12 or 24 Hour endurance challenges.
In the endurance challenge competitors ran a 4.9km long multi-terrain loop comprising uphill and down hills on tarmac, gravel, forest trails, cross country sections and even a rubber track used for training horses. This can sap the energy from the legs so it was no mean feat that the winner Niall Heaney toughed out 33 laps of the circuit totalling 100.48 miles.
The day started out sunny and even warm at times, but as darkness fell the temperature plummeted below zero. Only the hardy push on through those conditions as did our female winner Gillian Connolly who amassed 30 laps and a total distance of 91.34 miles.
The event, organised by Gaithouse Events, draws competitors from across the Province and as far away as Dublin. Commenting on the challenge race director George McGonigal said “it never ceases to amaze me how many runners run for longer and achieve greater distances than they thought possible and it is a privilege to help make this happen”.
Managing Director of the event sponsor CompareNI.com, Ian Wilson, commented “We want to help encourage local communities to have fun and give running a try with the Compare NI Florida Endurance challenge and 5/10k races. We’re proud to continue to support local runners, and we would like to thank George McGonigal and his team of volunteers at Gaithouse events for helping make that possible. We believe being active and running in particular, is a great way to get healthy and reduce stress.” Compareni.com is Northern Ireland’s dedicated price comparison website.
In the 12 Hour event Stephen Allen clocked up the greatest distance of 54.8 miles (18 laps) and in the ladies’ competition the title went to first time endurance runner Anne McNally with a distance of 48.72 miles (16 laps). There was also a 6 hour event where Niall McGuigan clocked up 42.63 miles (14 laps) and Amanda Jackson on 36.57 miles (12 laps) to claim top placement. Gaithouse Events would like to thank all our competitors for making it a great sporting occasion.
Next up Baronscourt Endurance Challenge on 21st May.