17 February 2016
Belfast has won the race to host the 12th IAU 24-Hour World Championships in 2017.
The Championship, which is held every two years, will be staged in Victoria Park in east Belfast on Saturday 1 July and Sunday 2 July.
When last held in Turin in 2015, the Championship attracted 300 of the world’s top competitors from 45 nations.
The international Association of Ultrarunners (IAU), which administers the long-distance running wing of the sport for the IAAF, has made the announcement at its Executive Council meeting in Monaco following what it described as “a good competition.”
The IAU President Dirk Strumane said: “It is with great pleasure that I can confirm that Belfast has been allocated the organisation of the 2017 24H World Championships.
“Belfast presented us with a convincing,well-structured and strongly supported bid and we are looking forward to a fruitful and constructive co-operation.”
Bid chairperson Ed Smith said: “It was touch and go for a while, but as well as getting the guarantees in place, there was support from Athletics NI acting on behalf of UK Athletics, from Athletics Ireland, who’s National Championships we’ve hosted since 2012, the Charles Hurst Group, and from Dame Mary Peters and across the political divide.
“I’m delighted that all the Committee’s hard work has got this recognition - delighted also for the city and for east Belfast and Victoria Park which has helped so much by establishing itself as an international venue as part of the £40m Connswater Community Greenway project currently underway in the area.
“We realise that there are no eye-catching household names in this branch of athletics - it’s all about ‘endurance and survival’ but hopefully with the Championship we can bring a spotlight to bear on the Park and the whole city with the influx of athletes and visitors. We will certainly be doing our best to deliver a memorable event on the first two days of July next year.”
2017 promises to be a big year for athletics in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with the IPC World Championships coming to the Olympic Park in London from July 15-23 followed by the IAAF World Championships from August 5-13.