Belfast to host 24 Hour World Championships this weekend

Aidan Hogan 24 hrs

The IAU 24 Hour World Championships, which are held every two years, will be staged in Victoria Park in East Belfast on Saturday 1 July and Sunday 2 July 2017. This is the 12th edition of this ultra running event. 


The last race - held in Turin 2015 - attracted 300 of the world’s top competitors from 45 nations. 
The International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU), which administers the long-distance running wing of the sport for the IAAF, awarded the event to Belfast at its Executive Council meeting in Monaco earlier in the year. 
The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, will welcome officials and athletes today (Friday 30th June) at the Opening Ceremony that takes place at the Dub Pavillion on the Malone Playing Fields at 1730hrs.  
“Congratulations to the organising committee on bringing another major event here. This will be a further opportunity to showcase our city, let the competitors, spectators and visitors experience all that Belfast has to offer and demonstrate what good hosts we are,” he said. 
The Belfast bid was backed by the Belfast City Council, long-time sponsors Energia and members of the local organising committee: "There was support from Athletics NI, acting on behalf of  UK Athletics, Athletics Ireland, whose National Championships we have hosted since 2012, the Charles Hurst Group, Dame Mary Peters and from across the political spectrum,” explained Ed Smith, Bid Chairperson and Race Director. 
“I’m delighted that all the committee’s hard work has resulted in this recognition, and am also delighted for the city and East Belfast. Victoria Park is now firmly established as an international venue, thanks to its key role in the larger Connswater Community Greenway project. 
“We will certainly be doing our best to deliver a memorable event this weekend.” 
Gas and electricity supplier Energia has supported Belfast’s regular 24 Hour race, Energia24, since 2010. The council has also supported the race, through its Support for Sport programme. 
“From small beginnings, the race has developed into a magnificent occasion, and I am thrilled that the dream of becoming a major international event has been realised, “said Tom Gillen, Group Managing Director. “We will give every support we can in helping to deliver the 24 Hour World Championships.” 
2017 promises to be a big year for athletics across the UK, with the IPC World Championships for para athletes taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London (15-23 July), followed by the IAAF World Championships (5-13 August).