In the absence of any support for ultramarathoners by Athletics Ireland, UltraRunning Ireland emerged as a separate entity in order to secure international representation for appropriately qualified Irish athletes.
The organisation was primarily operated by international ultra athletes, funded by Polar Running Adventures, and all work was conducted on a voluntary basis. UltraRunning Ireland became recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and International Association of Ultra Runners (IAU) as the governing authority for the sport and was one of 50 national federations affiliated to the IAU until April 2012.
The primary purpose of UltraRunning Ireland was to ensure the participation of national teams in international ultra competitions; liaise with the IAU and IAAF on behalf of international athletes; monitor Irish ultra running performances and ensure the integrity of record claims; select sites / races for Irish national ultra competitions; promote Irish ultra running via IAU-labelled events; host international competitions where possible; and recognise notable ultra achievements via its website and the media.
UltraRunning Ireland enjoyed remarkable success with Irish representation at every major international competition from 2006-2012. Among the highlights - Thomas Maguire and Helena Crossan's 100km national records at World Championship competitions (2006 and 2007, respectively), Tony Mangan's World Indoor 48 Hour Record in 2007, Ireland's top 5 team placing in the 2007 European 100km, Helena Crossan's victory in the 2009 Anglo Celtic Plate and bronze medal at the 2009 European 100km Championships, Eoin Keith's top 5 placing at the 2009 World 24 Hour Championships, and Thomas Maguire's 24-hour national record making him the top ranked European going into the World Championships in 2010.
World class times for 100km (sub-7 hours) and 50km (sub 2:48 hours were posted at the Anglo Celtic Plate in 2009 and the World 50km Trophy Final in 2010, both operated in Galway by Richard Donovan (Polar Running Adventures).
In 2011, Irish men's teams were among the top 5 in Europe and the top 7 in the World (at both trail and road running) and Ireland hosted the Trail World Championships - the widest internationally broadcast athletics event from Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish men's 100km team set a new national team record when finishing 2nd in the Anglo Celtic Plate. Also in 2011, Richard Donovan was race director at the Commonwealth Championships for the second time, having received an Order of Merit from the IAU for his organisation of the Trail World Championships earlier in the year.
In April 2012, the Irish men's 100km team finished 6th at the World Championships in Italy, setting another new Irish record, and in July 2012 Keith Whyte had an outstandng victory at the Anglo Celtic Plate 100km in Waleswhen representing UltraRunning Ireland. Finally, Richard Donovan was elected as Director to the world governing body for ultra running, the International Association of Ultra Runners.
Athletics Ireland has now taken over responsibility for Irish ultrarunning. The body must at least maintain or build upon the level of achievement to date, fund athletes to the level they have become accustomed to, send teams to international competitions and continue to host major international competitions. Otherwise, the organisation will have failed the sport.
Copyright 2009-2013 UltraRunning Ireland. All rights reserved.