ENDURANCE RUNNER Alex O’Shea has vowed to learn from his mistakes following his marathon effort at the 29th IAU 100km World Championships in Los Alcazares, Spain.
The Ballineen resident, originally from Carrigaline, represented Ireland for the first-time at an international ultra-marathon event and he finished an excellent 53rd overall and seventh in the over-40 category, far exceeding his own expectations.
But he feels there is more room for improvement as he reflects on the mistakes he made during the gruelling event.
‘I missed the second aid station completely on one loop,’ Alex said.
‘I just couldn’t see my table such was the crowd and this resulted in me not getting enough fluids on that lap – that’s never good on a long race when you need to take on lots of fluid. A 100km race is a difficult distance if things don’t go to plan and many a good runner gets things wrong on the day as every race can be very different.
‘I spoke with a lot of the top finishers and they also felt they made some mistakes in the race, which may have cost them medals at the business end of the race.’
Alex also feels he pushed himself a little too hard in the early stages but he was very much in control of his race for the first 60kim.
‘After that my race started to turn. I had no choice but to slow things down or risk not finishing or blowing up and having to walk. Thankfully I was able to readjust and push on.
‘Unfortunately I had to readjust again and by 80km I was really feeling it and my lap times were getting slower and slower.’
Alex finished the 100km in seven hours 37 minutes and 16 seconds, which means he averaged seven minutes and 21 seconds per mile.
‘After I finished my first reaction was mixed. I felt I was doing so much better for most of the race up until the last 15km or so when I struggled due to inexperience. The result didn’t reflect my efforts on the day but that’s athletics and you always strive to do better. On reflection, coming away with a personal best time and a feeling I can do better is a great result for me,’ said Alex, who was competing against the best 100km runners in the world.
Amazingly, this was only the third time that Alex has run the 100km distance, and it adds to an impressive year that also saw him finish fifth at the national 24-hour championships in Belfast during the summer and finish fourth in the national 50km championships.
‘My focus is now on next year and the chance to represent Ireland at the world 24-hour championships to be held in Belfast,’ he added, as he plans to use the experience in Spain to make him a better ultra-marathon runner.