Denis secures slot in US race after gruelling 37-hour run

Denis Keane from Kilcummin was the outright winner at the ‘Last One Standing’ in County Down at the weekend
Denis Keane from Kilcummin was the outright winner at the ‘Last One Standing’ in County Down at the weekend

Fergus Dennehy

A Kilcummin man has bagged himself a spot in a prestigious 'Last Man Standing' competition run in Nashville, Tennessee next month after he stormed to victory in an ultra running competition in County Down over the weekend.

Denis Keane is no stranger to the trials and tribulations to of the Northern Ireland event, having finished joint first in the same event back in 2017, but this year he went one better as the outright winner. The challenge saw competitors line up at the start of 4.2 mile trail loop at the start of the hour, every hour until only one person was left standing in the exhausting challenge.

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Overall, Denis spent almost 37 hours non-stop on his feet as he revealed that the secret to his success was not giving himself too much rest before the start of each loop, breaking the run into different sections and negotiating with his body to keep going, especially after hitting the 24hr mark. Denis said that the trick was to remain consistent through out. He said that the temptation was there that if you finished your 4.2 mile loop early, you would have extra time to rest, but  he said that this too would have brought its downside.

"If you finished your loop with half an hour until the start of the next loop, that would have been too much time to wait around. Your body would stiffen up and if you were sitting in the nice warm tent for too long, away from the rain, you might have been tempted to stay in," he said. With this in mind, Denis finished each of his loops around the 52 minute mark, keeping him on the slow and steady pace throughout. "I broke the run up into each different part, the hills, the trails and once I got past the 24 hr mark, I was just telling myself to keep going and keep moving," said Denis. Denis is now preparing to up his training schedule ahead of the event in Nashville.