world champion calcaterra to test mettle in 'connemarathon'
The hugely popular Connemara International Marathon or 'Connemarathon' takes place on Sunday.
Demand for entries was such that the event sold out four months in advance. The 39.3-mile ultra marathon starts at 9.0 from Maam Cross, the 26.2-mile full marathon starts from Lough Inagh at 10.30 and the half-marathon starts from Leenane at 12.0.
Some of the better known faces lining out on the day include 32 Marathons Supremo Gerry Duffy and Operation Transformation guru Karl Henry, who are taking on the Ultra challenge.
World 100k champion, Italian Giorgio Calcaterra, is a confirmed starter for the ultra event. Race director Ray O'Connor said: "Having a world champion in the Connemarathon is a dream come true, but welcoming Giorgio Calcaterra is even better.
"The man is a legend. He said he's confident of breaking four hours. We will just have to see what Connemara can throw at him."
Calcaterra won gold at the 100k world championships in Holland last September in six hours 27 minutes. He has run over 100 marathons and holds a personal best time of two hours 13 minutes.
There are over 200 participants in the ultra event and nearly 800 runners in the marathon, while the bulk of the 3,200 participants are taking part in the half-marathon.
The event is organised by multi-marathon runner O'Connor, who has completed 122 marathons across the world. O'Connor is also the man behind Ireland's most popular running website runireland.com, which won an Eircom Spider Award in 2011.
For more information see www.connemarathon.com
See full results in Monday's Irish Independent.