A CROSSGATES ultra-runner says it's "surreal" to be ranked as one of Scotland's all-time best after powering to international success.

Jo Murphy travelled to Ireland on August 21 to compete for her country in the Anglo Celtic Plate, an annual home countries' 100-kilometre international race, and claimed second place in the women's event.

The 34-year-old, who is a former member of Carnegie Harriers, finished only behind Ireland's Catriona Jennings, who ran in the marathon at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in a time of seven hours, 50 minutes and 58 seconds.

Not only was that 38 minutes quicker than her time in the 2019 event – in which she placed third in Perth – but it also moved her to fourth in the all-time Scottish women's list over the distance.

The competition, which had to be axed last year due to COVID-19, features teams from Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland. It also doubled as the Scottish and British Championships and, even though sickness hit Jo in the final stretch on a hot and muggy day at the Mondello Park Motor Circuit Naas, County Kildare, she was thrilled with her achievement.

"I'm chuffed to bits," she told Press Sport. "I was confident going in that the plan I had, and the pace I was setting off at, was going to be a pace that if it had gone well I could sustain. I'd never want to start something at a pace that will be far too fast later on because having a blow-up is fine in a 10K but having a blow-up in a 100K is a long time to suffer. You just want to feel good for as long as possible, and I did.

"I would say it's probably inevitable that you will feel rubbish at some point, so if it's in the latter stages, that's to be expected.

"As we were on the looped course, we could hear the team-mates pretty frequently. We were all passing each other and shouting encouragement and, likewise, from the spectators and the other teams as well.

"I knew I was fit but you just don't know how a race of that distance is going to pan out because it's a long time and a lot could happen just with your body and your nutrition over that length of time being on your feet.

"My top goal was that the pace I was hitting, the 7:30 (per lap), if I could do that, that's going to get me well under the eight hours. That time I knew was going to be quick; if it was going super-well and nothing went wrong, then that was going to be achievable.

"A couple of things did go wrong but I still managed to maintain that so I've got a bit of confidence that maybe there's still a bit more in the tank!

"It was maybe about the last 10 miles that just, all of a sudden, I got the feeling that I was going to be sick. It was a wave, it just came over me, and I was sick. I was uncontrollable whilst I was running.

"My tummy went a bit as well so obviously there was a couple of toilet stops as well in the last 10 miles but nothing that was going to end the race for me or hamper my pace, thankfully!"

Jo continued: "I knew that Catriona Jennings had come in first, she was an Irish competitor, but I didn't realise she didn't count for the British team, so that obviously put me as first Scot and first Brit through the finish line and then I was told, 'You're fourth in the all-time Scottish standings for 100K'.

"To look at the list, I'm up there with people that I've heard of, have admired, and it's all a bit surreal. I know that Catriona has represented Ireland at the Olympics in 2012 in the marathon, she was part of the Hoka world record 100K attempt earlier this year, so I know she's a really good calibre of runner.

"To finish shortly behind her was just a real confidence-booster for going forward.

"I've taken off 38 minutes from my finish time in 2019. For me, just to see the progression from the last couple of years cements the training that I have been doing and gives me the confidence that what I'm doing is right."

Jo, who along with Jennings broke the previous Anglo Celtic Plate record time, is now targeting Great Britain selection, adding: "There's potential that the time I got could put me forward for selection for the British 100K squad.

"That would be great but I've also got a 24-hour race, it's the Gloucester 24-hour track elite race in October, so I'm hoping to maybe get a qualifying distance again for potential selection for the GB 24-hour team. It might open a door for me next year and see where that takes me!"