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Meet Ireland's Olympic team: Breege Connolly

Leitrim runner set to make her Olympic debut at the age of 38.

Connolly in cross-country action back in 2012 (file photo).
Connolly in cross-country action back in 2012 (file photo).
Image: Declan Roughan

Event: Marathon

Who is she? Like fellow qualifier Lizzie Lee, Connolly was a late convert to long-distance running and only ran her first marathon back in 2012.

Where’s she from? Connolly hails from Kinlough in North Leitrim, but moved to live in Belfast and runs in the colours of North Belfast Harriers.

Olympic CV: Now 38, this will be her first Olympics.

Road to Rio: With just three Irish places up for grabs in the race, Connolly faced an unenviable wait after hitting the Olympic qualifying standard with a time of 2:37:29 at the London marathon all the way back in April 2015. She had to hang on for more than a year to see if any of her rivals could overhaul her before her place on the plane was confirmed.

When does she start? The women’s marathon takes place on Sunday 14 August, starting at 1pm Irish time.

Where can I follow her? You’ll get her on Twitter @breege26.

What she says: “The whole of Kinlough is 100% behind me which is great and hopefully, it shows there is nothing to limit people.” (Leitrim Observer, May 2016)

Medal chances? Connolly’s times to date are unlikely to put her in the mix for a medal but after structuring her season to give herself the best possible chance, she’ll be hoping to set a PB in Rio.

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And here’s something you probably didn’t know… When she’s not out pounding the pavement, Connolly works as a software tester.

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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