Ed is Ireland’s last one standing

RAPHOE’S Ed McGroarty was Ireland’s last one standing during Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra World Championship which took place over the weekend before last and beyond. 
The Bray native ran for 42 hours and completed a total distance of 175 miles to help the Ireland team to an amazing 10th place in the world finish, while he was 24th individual overall following his exertions at Florida Manor, in Killinchy, Co Down. 
“It was brilliant!,” he beamed. “It was a good course, it was mixed – there was tarmac, concrete, there were trails, there were a few little hills. It was a good course because it was interesting and it kept you busy and kept you thinking which kept your mind off the feat in front of you.” 
Gary Cantrell created the Backyard Ultra idea at his home in Tennessee where he devised a 4.166667 mile loop, which must be completed once per hour, and it took off across the world, developing into the global Last One Standing events.  
The Backyard World Championship was to take place at his base over the weekend, but due to the global pandemic that wasn’t possible. 
Instead of each national champion travelling to America, Cantrell decided to make it a virtual team event, with each nation putting 15 runners forward who would attempt to run for as long as possible in their own country. 
There was a caveat, however. One runner from each nation couldn’t just keep going solo, there had to be two competitors and once the penultimate participant pulled out, the last one standing would be crowned national champion for that country and the total time and distance covered up to that point would give the country their final position. 
In the end, that left Ed the Irish national champion, finishing ahead of the great Eoin Keith, while Omagh’s Jill McCann broke the women’s Irish record after running for well over 30 hours, completing 133.34 miles in the process. 
While delighted with the achievement, Ed felt he could have continued like the Belgian team who were at the 70 hour mark when he spoke to the Strabane Chronicle on Tuesday morning: “I could have kept going, but my race was over when Eoin stopped,” said the Lifford Strabane AC clubman. 
“The Belgians will be itching to get to the 72 hour mark because that’s three days. I had no goal in mind and as long as I was feeling good I was going to keep going but I definitely was hoping to get up to 48 hours and after that who knows.” 

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