TWO LONG distance endurance runners have qualified to compete for their home nations in a long-established ultra-distance race.

Jon Barnes, from Hereford, and Daniel Barnett, from Presteigne, have qualified to represent England and Wales respectively in the Anglo Celtic Plate 100-kilometre International race next month.

The race will see runners from home nations England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland compete against each other and has been won in the past by the likes of Ross Houston and Steve Way.

Barnes qualified after finishing over 10 minutes inside the England Athletics standard at Gloucester 50km last month.

Barnes said: "The race at Gloucester was very unexpected, I went into it missing a lot of training and key sessions through illness so I didn’t hold out much hope of running near the standard.

"So to be over 10 minutes faster than it and beat some high-class runners was amazing."

In doing so Barnes ran the one of the fastest 50km by a British runner ever, a time that would have placed him 11th at the last World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

His time places him 21st on the all-time list ahead of many past British Champions and international runners.

"It has been a big goal of mine over the last few years to put myself in a selectable position to run internationally and is a huge honour to be representing my country in March," Barnes added.

Barnes is one of five athletes representing England, who will be looking to reclaim the championship from Scotland.

As well as Jon the race will see another local runner Daniel Barnett running for this country too.

Barnett will be competing against Barnes in the colours of Wales.

Barnett recently won the Flitch Way 100km in Braintree, Essex in a time of eight hours and 36 minutes which saw him inside the Welsh qualifying time by nine minutes.

He will compete in a full team of five Welsh athletes for this year's event.