By Tony Mangan: I just had to take in Brno on the world run. Brno 48 hour indoor race
March 16/18 2007 was the highlight of my running career!
Sorry for the rough text and photos. My photos are back home,
these ones I just had on emails. Here is the race report I wrote after
Ah! it all seemed so easy then!
Uno in Brno!
By: Tony Mangan.
The world indoor record still stands.426.178km about 266 miles!
I felt the Japanese runners eyes burning holes through my back.We were in
the latter hours of the Brno 48 hour indoor international endurance race in
the Czech Republic. He was probably wondering who was this upstart.I had
googled him last week and knew he was a member of their gold medal-winning
team from the world 24 hour championships in Taiwan.He had finished 7th
there.I was 16th.
I moved to the left he moved to left.He was waiting for me to go. Cat and
mouse.I was in no hurry, as I had a nice lead of about 10km.
I slowed to let Kenjai pass me on a lap. He grunted and charged off.
This was his 3rd attack of the 4 he had mounted on me.Knowing he was
nearing his limit this time I went with him just to show him I was feeling
It was a short attack.Just one lap of the 250 meter concrete track of the
indoor arena. Eyeballs- out-stuff, we ran it in about 70 seconds but it
seemed sub 60. Most of my other laps were in the 1:30 to 1:40 region.
At the end of this lap his hand went up in the air,almost as a sign of
submission. I had managed to fend off his 2 previous attacks,
lapping him a few times when he faded.
We jogged on for a couple of hours, towards the never-ending
finish.Refreshed with about 2 hours to go we spoke for the very first time
in the race.
He told me not to worry that he wanted to go through 400km in style.
Still,I had to take this seriously as anything could happen to me giving
him an outside chance of victory.He lifted his pace gradually,
adrenalin filled, running through the pain barrier.I was watching him
carefully from the opposite side of the indoor track matching his pace.
He was running clad in his white Japanese singlet and blue shorts with a
forward leaning style which was easy to pick out among the other runners.
I started this race wearing my Dublin clubs Metro St.Brigid's singlet for
the first 14 hours.
As as it was St.Patrick's day at midnight on the first
day I changed into my Irish national singlet.This was first time in 20 years
as a member of my club I didn't wear my clubs colours for a non-championship
race.It was my plan to change back at midnight,but I decided I didn't want to
change the luck of the Irish.
After 2 hours I was in 26th place of the 51 runners.
As the hours ticked slowly by I was gradually moving up the standings,
passing other runners,one by one.I felt like a grand prix driver moving up
through the grid. By the 24 hour mark I was 3rd place, later getting a
presentation for that competition within a competition;
223km run, almost identical to the distance I covered
in the Verona European championships 6 months earlier,finishing 9th.
For once the weather could be guaranteed for a race.The arena which
is usually used for expos had been heated to 17degrees C.
Here in Brno, I took the lead with 10 hours to go. I was running like
a man possessed. No way did I want to finish second again in a big race.
Passion,ambition and a hunger to win were the fuel that drove me on through
that second long night.
This Japanese runner, Kenjai Okiyama, is some competitor,
Courageous full of running, never-say-die attitude.
We had an incredible tussle!
On each of those 4 attacks I managed to hold him off by raising
my pace steadily so he found it hard to keep his attacks going.
I took a half hour nap after 20 hours and another half-hour
at 32 hours.
Upon returning to the track I got sick and wasted another
The only time I walked was for 3 laps immediately before my
Peta a young science student was assigned to look after me,
giving me my carbohydrate drinks gels and electrolytes.
Also, Alan Young a UK athletics official was very generous
with his assistance,
Alan was there to crew for William Sichel who broke the
Scottish 48 hour record and finished 6th.
These helpers were instrumental to my success.
I owe them a huge debt of service.
After the race my feet were in surprisingly decent shape.
In fact my feet hardly had a blemish!
The official aid stations were well stocked and included beer!
As a non-drinker I chose the alcohol-free one, occasionally.
They were of course not pint glasses but shot glass size!
Sometimes runners finds it hard to stomach regular drinks
and as beer is rich in carbohydrates - it's a welcome
refreshment for some ultra runners!
Towards the end of the race I was escorted by the race referee
to my exact finishing spot to put down a marker to mark what
I thought to be a course record.
In the last stages of Brno 2007. Race referee and race director Tomas Rusek right prepare to mark exact spot for the world record I was oblivious to!
Jaroslav Kocourek,a Czech runner was the first to shake my
hand and congratulate me on breaking his indoor
world 48 hour record!
I asked him what he meant:
"Was it not a course record?"
"Yes it's a course record but the course record is
the world record!"
That was a pleasant shock to me!
I looked for Kenjai and gave him a massive hug.
We exchanged our national flags.
Exchanging flags with Kenji
Then we were photographed holding each others flag.
Third place Vlastimil Dvoracek from a Czech runner came over.
We exchanged race stories.
With Kenji left and Vlastimil Dvoracek right.
I fell into a chair and gave two television interviews
and numerous photos as the arena scoreboard sign flashed....
" World 48 hour indoor record Tony Mangan Ireland
426.178km " (264.81miles) "
Kenjai's second place total was 412.9km.
Third was the Czech runner
Vlastimil Dvoracek in 374.9km.
Irina Koval frrom Russia won the womens race
Nina Mytrofanova from the Ukraine was second,334.4km.
Michaela Dimitriadu, Czech Rep. 322.3km, third.
My 24 hour splits were 223km and 203km.
We got onto the podium sharing with the 3 women's winners.
We were all so tired, almost falling off and hanging
onto each other as the presentations continued with
individual awards for each finisher.
Eventually they allowed us to sit down on the podium
while the ceremony continued.
I went back to the hotel,showered and slept for
about 4 hours and went out
to dinner with the other runners.I sat with Kenjai.
He told me about life as a runner in Japan.
His wife is a 10 day runner.
It was very expensive for him and his handler to come here.
I felt sorry for him.
I was wearing my traditional race night tee-shirt which reads:
"Battered,shattered,plastered and twisted!"
I was happy and this made up for so many heartbreaking
second place finishes during my ultrarunning career.
My club club mate Michael Farrell deserves a lot of credit
for his great work getting me ready for races.
Many times I have doubted if I could get
over some of my injuries but Michael always seems to pull me
In 5 years years working on me the masochist has never
Race director,Tomas Rusek did a wonderful job putting on
this incredible race which went like a well-oiled machine
without a hitch.
The trophy I was presented with was so big,
I didn't know how to get it home!
Tomas the race director called to my room the next morning
to give me a large sports bag which the trophy barely
I went to the airport put the 48 hour shoes into the
x-ray machine and pitied the operator,
how those shoes must have stank!
As I put them on I heard some Irish weekend revelers
"Did you Run?" Thinking they were talking to me
I turned to answer...
Just as the other was man was replying,
"Are you crazy? I couldn't run across the street!"
I had a little chuckle and walked very slowly
through the terminal.
I was happy.
Tony Mangan. March 2007.