Shelley O’Connell writes, on January 8th, 2007 at 5:46 PM’O’KEARNEY WINS SCHINNEN FAT ASS 50K

Six weeks after making a winning ultra marathon debut in the New York Knickerbocker 60K, Ireland’s Dara O’Kearney won his second ultra, the Schinnen Fat Ass 50K, in the Netherlands on January 6th. Run on a hilly 4.2K loop course, O’Kearney was paced through the first half of the race by former Russian marathon champion and Sydney Olympian Nadezhda Wijenberg (wife of race organiser Ger). Once she dropped out, O’Kearney went on to win easily in a time of 3 hours 33 minutes and 57 seconds, lapping the entire field in the process.

“It was an enormous privilege to be able to run with Nadezhda, and the event is the friendlist race I’ve ever run in”, said O’Kearney after his win. The Irishman is building up to his debut over 100K in May in Edinburgh, in the Anglo Celtic Plate, where he has been selected to run for Ireland alongside such talented Irish ultra runners as Thomas Maguire (Irish 100K record holder, and twelfth at last year’s world championships), Michael Collins (winner of Antarctica Marathon, the Himalayan 100 mile race and the Sahara Half-Marathon) and Martin Rea (also a winner of the Himalayan 100 mile race).

The Schinnen race also included Horst Preissler. The 71 year old German holds the world record for most completed marathons (well over 1400) and after completing the marathon distance in under 4 hours 30 (his 900th time to break 4 hours 30), he was on his way to the train station to travel on to his next marathon, the following day. The unstoppable German ran 84 marathons last year, all in respectable times, including one 4 hour 2 minutes race, and by the end of 2007 should be well past the 1500 mark.

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