Cork’s Alex wins 24-hour road race

Cork’s Alex wins 24-hour road race
Alex O'Shea, Cork City Firebrigade competing at the Cork City Marathon. PIC: DARRAGH KANE

Cork ultra runner Alex O'Shea is recovering today after winning the open category at the Belfast 24-hour road race and finishing third in Ireland in the national championships, covering over 149 miles non-stop in the process.

Alex, who broke the world record time for finishing a marathon in full fireman gear in 2014, has now qualified for the Irish 24-hour team and could compete in future races in the green singlet.

On Sunday, Alex competed in the national championships, the open race [for runners not yet qualified to represent their country] and the world masters' championships in just his second ever 24-hour race.

He covered a distance of over 149 miles – 146 laps of the Belfast course – and placed number one in the open race, finishing 12 laps ahead of nearest rival Fabrice Puaud of France.

Alex's wife Audrey was on hand to provide support at key parts of the race.

“I never stopped except to change my shoes, get dry socks and treat blisters with Audrey, who was my crew. At 10 hours into the race, I got a blister and I had to pop it and tape two toes together,” Alex told the Evening Echo.

“I got another blister on my other foot at 20 hours and coming into the end I got another one. I had a bad run with my feet compared to last year but other people had stomach problems and I didn't.

“When I finished the race, I picked the Cork flag up off the table and I did a victory lap for myself. People were just dropping on the ground in agony and I was having a laugh and a joke. I was living the dream. I far exceeded my expectations and the expectations of other people,” he added.

Alex may get the chance to represent Ireland in next year's world championships and can't wait to don the coveted green singlet.

“Technically I'm now ranked third in the country. When you run a 24-hour event, your time is valid for two years so you're selected for international competition for that period unless your time is beaten by someone else,” he said.

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