Gareth King and Adrian Daye chat to getactiveabc ahead of the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k Championships

March 26, 2023

When Gareth King lines up for the Anglo Celtic Plate 100K British Isles Championships at South Lake Leisure Centre on Sunday, he will do so in the knowledge that this prestigious event at which he excels is being held in Northern Ireland for the first time!

How do you feel Gareth about this prominent event taking place at South Lake Leisure Centre?

It’s just amazing that this will be a ‘home run’ for the first time. I live just twenty minutes from the venue in Tandragee so it’s literally on my doorstep. I’m really proud to be heading up the Northern Ireland and Ulster men’s team and particularly this year because it’s at South Lake.

As a father-of-four, we imagine there will be great excitement in your house on Sunday morning?

Definitely, it’s really something different, isn’t it? It will be brilliant having the crowds there cheering me on and my own wee club ‘Runwell’ supporting me.

Aged 42, you are an inspiration to so many local runners. How are you feeling as the race approaches and you make those final preparations?

I’m not a million miles away from my best. I feel that there’s definitely more in there and I’m still learning how to race the distance. I’ve only run three 100K races and this will be my fourth but preparations are going well.

On each 100k race you set a new Northern Ireland and Ulster record and earlier this month you won the Portadown marathon in 2hrs 25 minutes. Will the competition be fierce on Sunday?

Yes, there are some amazing athletes competing. England’s Ollie Garrod is in brilliant form. He recently set a new world 40 mile record of 3hours, 45mins and 7 secs in Barry in Wales and beat a record that had stood for 41 years.

Fantastic Fact: Gareth sits proudly at the top of the British 100K rankings following a 9th place finish at the World Championships in Berlin last August. His time of 6hrs 32 mins 5 secs was the fourth quickest ever by a British runner!

As Race Director, how are you feeling Adrian about the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k British Isles Championships taking place at Craigavon Lakes this year?

I’m feeling immensely proud that we will be hosting this incredible competition for the first time in Northern Ireland. We are really looking forward to welcoming all the athletes to South Lake on Sunday. It will be an early start at 8am and we would encourage everyone to come along, cheer on the runners and just soak up the atmosphere. We are expecting a battle royal between Gareth and England’s Ollie Garrod.

As the athletes prepare to put on their national vests, what can you tell us about the competition in the men’s teams?

With Irish Championship medals up for grabs, the Irish are sending a strong line-up. Like Gareth, it will be a home race for Barry McCarroll who lives a stone’s throw away in Lurgan. And Alex O’Shea, who has run 32 marathons in all 32 Irish counties in just 16 days. He will be running on what is his 49th birthday.

The England men will be defending the team title they won at this fixture in Perth in Scotland last year. The Scottish men’s team will also have Scottish Championship medals on their minds. The team took ACP silver in Perth and it is packed with experience. It includes Scottish 100K champion Jason Kelly, Chris Richardson and former British 100K champion Rob Turner – running his 6th Anglo Celtic Plate.

It is also a 6th ACP for the much-travelled Welshman Nathan Flear. Nathan is based in Bulgaria and last year won the Gloucester 100K.

What can you tell us about the competition in the women’s teams?

The women’s team race looks very open with Scotland hoping to improve on last year’s silver medal even without their Scottish champion Jo Murphy. They have the experienced Alison McGill taking part in her third ACP.

Ireland will be without their record holder Caitriona Jennings who had a stellar year in 2022, winning the European 50K Championships and taking a bronze at the World 100K Championships, including setting a world 40+ record. They include in their ranks Tricia McLoughlin who recently recorded new 6hr and 12hr Irish records. The Irish team also includes Anne Jennings and Lorraine McMahon who helped the Irish women to a top 10 finish at the European 24 Hour Championships in Verona last September.

For Northern Ireland, Karla Borland will be flying in from her English base to spearhead the team. Two years ago she finished 4th at the ACP in Mondello. She was followed home that day by Jenny Elliott-York to secure bronze for the team and Jenny will be back in Craigavon. Unfortunately England will not be fielding a full women’s team to defend the women’s title this year.

 Is there anyone we should be watching out for?

Yes England’s Paul Martelletti. He comes to Craigavon with his name in the Guinness Book of Records. How did he get there? He ran the fastest ever marathon as a Superhero in just under 2hrs 30 mins.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council is delighted to be supporting this prestigious event. We want to thank Northern Ireland Ultra Running Association on behalf of the Anglo Celtic Plate Ultra Association and Adrian for all their hard work in bringing this event to Craigavon Lakes. The team at South Lake Leisure Centre is looking forward to welcoming all the athletes to the venue at the weekend.

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