With just over 12 weeks to go until the IAU 24-hour World Championships heads to Belfast, Northern Ireland, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) yesterday launched an innovative and reward-giving crowdfund campaign in order to raise £5,000 towards key athlete-centered aspects of the championships.
Now in its 12th edition, the biennial championships, which is this year due to be held in Belfast’s Victoria Park, will see the very best elite runners in the world test themselves against one another whilst competing for a gruelling and full 24 hours on the 1.7km loop course.
The championships on July 1-2 will serve to kick off a huge summer of world athletics in the UK, with the World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships heading to London in July and August respectively.
For those who pledge to the crowd-funder - dedicated to raising funds for marquee tents, athlete fuelling stations and night-time lightning - rewards, dependant on the pledged amount, will come in the form of bespoke souvenirs from the championships, details of which can be found on the crowdfunding page.
Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee ahead of the championships, Ed Smith said:
“We're certainly feeling the pressure with the world's best ultra-runners on their way to Belfast. But we are confident that the building blocks are now in place to deliver a memorable Championship for athletes and spectators alike.
“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 championships here in Belfast we can bring a spotlight to bear on the mighty efforts of these competitors, some of whom will run beyond 160 miles over the 24-hour period."
British Athletics’ Direct of Strategy & Partnerships, Nigel Holl said:
“As a former ultra-runner myself, what is now abundantly clear is that ultra is a branch of athletics which is constantly growing and being picked up by more and more athletes. To further this point, over 300 athletes from 45 nations will be on the start line in Belfast alongside an open race of 100 competitors.
“With all of the above in mind, it is crucial that as host of this year’s World Championships – the first of three on home soil ahead of the World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships in London this summer – we strive to deliver the championships to the very best of our ability.
"This innovative approach to support the event by the organisers through crowd funding sits alongside investment from Schneider Electric, Belfast City Council, Energia, UK Athletics and Athletics NI, The Charles Hurst Group and Bombardier and we look forward to it being a huge success and making a vital contribution to this world championships. It is a great opportunity for the brilliant ultra-running community in the UK to get behind this global event."
More information on Belfast being awarded with the championships can be found via: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/media/news/2016-news-page/february-2016/17-02-16-belfast-24-hour/