Romania beckons for serial ultra-runner

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IF the sheer thought of one ultra-marathon terrifies you, take time to admire the efforts of Ana Goncalves, who has just embarked on her fourth.

Ultra Race Romania 2022 got under way today – the gruelling 250km, six-stage, self-supported event is the latest addition to the Islander’s growing collection of impressive feats.

The 2016 regional Pride of Britain Fundraiser of the Year winner boasts an outstanding resumé of achievements, all of which were undertaken with raising money for charity at the forefront of her mind.

She has negotiated the gruelling Marathon des Sables, the Grand to Grand Ultra and the Hawaii ultra-marathon.

‘It will be my fourth ultra, but I have been told that Ultra Romania will probably be the hardest one so far,’ she explained.

‘You have to carry everything with you during the six days of racing across mountains and challenging terrain.

‘Living in Jersey, it does make it difficult to fully prepare for that sort of environment as there aren’t really any comparable conditions over here.

‘I am just really excited for it, because the opportunity to compete has been delayed through the pandemic.

‘You get to meet so many new people from every walk of life and the whole experience is just incredible.’

For such a small Island, Jersey boasts a number of ultra competitors, including Beth Rainbow, who recently finished the Marathon des Sables as the first female Brit across the line.

Fellow Islander Patrick Kennedy also competed, finishing ninth overall and the top male Briton – meaning Jersey runners were the first male and female Brits to cross the line.

Goncalves said: ‘It has been great to see so many Islanders get away and compete on the global stage. Everyone races for separate reasons, but my purpose has always been charity, mostly Headway Jersey. The charities have really suffered through the pandemic as most fundraising events have been cancelled. For me it is so important that these local charities are not forgotten about. Local sports and athletes have had a hard time through lack of competition, but it is easy to forget about the charities who rely on these sorts of events for funding throughout the year.’

The race spans over seven days and the Islander’s progress can be tracked via the Ultra Romania website.

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