A record tumbles and the Irish 50k Championships is a success at the Donodea 50k race this Saturday (February 9). 

The beautiful surrounds of Donadea Forest Park in Co. Kildare, Ireland was the venue for the 9th Annual Dondea 50KM race this weekend. Donadea Forest Park offers the perfect location for the 50KM Championship Event and has seen super fast times before.

Gary O’Hanlon won the Donodea 50km and Irish Championships in a new personal best of 2:50.48, whilst Laura O’Driscoll won the women’s championship in 3:49.01.

The ultra distance event might only be a little under eight kilometres longer than the standard 42.2km marathon, but it is often a runner of O’Hanlon’s standard steps up in distance and the quality of the time shines through. The Clonliffe Harrier only recently ran 2:18:15 to finish 31st overall and also won the M40 category at the Valencia Marathon back in December.

The national record holder said “I went out hard, too hard. 1.23.50 for 25k and 2:14 for 40k. Then I was questioning whether I could even finish the last 10k.”

“It was a very tough race mentally. With the marathon you get to 20 miles and there’s not far to go, but with a 50k you have almost another half marathon left,” reflected the Irish international. “After four laps the underfoot conditions got a bit tougher too” although O’Hanlon still held on to a fine pace across the finish line.

Irish international ultra runner John O’Regan tweeted the video below of the marathoner finishing the race and he clearly looks happy with the result.

Shaun McLaughlin (3:18.31) and Alastair Higgins (3:20.57) were second and third respectively with Higgins taking to Facebook to lament his early pace, possibly drawn on by the standard of runner ahead, stating “I should have stuck to 3:15 pace but went off at 3:10 pace- finished in 3hrs20. Lessons learned!”

The women’s race was a close run affair with Laura O’Driscoll, winner of the 2018 Wicklow Way 50 miler, just three minutes ahead of Jan Corcoran (3:52.12).

The Donadea Running club website states that the “event is the brainchild of one our most active members and chairperson Anthony Lee. Anthony who is an avid Ultra Runner himself, has brought ultra running in the last ten years to the forefront of Donadea Running Club encouraging other members of the club to get involved in 24 hour races, ultra team events and the Connemara Ultra Run.”


1. Gary O’Hanlon – 2:50.48

2. Shaun McLaughlin- 3:18.31

3. Alastair Higgins- 3:20.57


1. Laura O’Driscoll – 3:49.01

2. Jan Corcoran- 3:52.12

3. Lucy O’Malley- 4:11.44

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