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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Spartathlon record for ultra-runner Keith

Eoin Keith. Pic: James Kirby
Eoin Keith. Pic: James Kirby

Ultra - runner Eoin Keith of Sportsworld finished eighth place in last weekend's grueling Spartathlon - a 243km run from Athens to Sparta in Greece that includes a 1,200m night-time climb of Mount Parthenio on rough, unmarked paths and extreme variations in temperature from freezing cold to broiling hot.

Keith's time of  26 hours 36 minutes 17 seconds was by some way the fastest ever by an Irish runner in the race. It has been an exceptional year for Keith, who won the 268 Spine race along the Pennine Way in England last January and the 190-mile Northern Traverse, also in England, in July.

Of the Irish men to have previously completed the Spartathlon, the fastest was  Eddie Gallen, who finished the  2015 race in 31 hours 12 minutes 45 seconds.

Finishing 27th behidn Keith in 28 hours 53 mins 12 secs was Keith Whyte, who was leading the Irish through the earlier stages of the race until an old injury flared up.

Other Irish-based athletes to finish were Vilnis Pleite who was 38th in 30:22.45 and Rolando Espina 89th in 33:17.43. Dropping out close to the finish were Anthony Lee, Billy Holden and Samuel Kilpatrick.

Belgium-based Bridget Brady became only the second Irish woman ever to complete the Spartathlon when she finished  in 34 hrs 57 mins 13 secs. In 1998, Galway woman Doina Nugent was fourth woman and 20th overall in 30:58.22.

Overall race winner was Andrzej Radzikowski of Poland in 23 hours 1 in 13 secs.

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