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Meet Ireland's Olympic team: Lizzie Lee

Bishopstown’s Lizzie Lee is set to make her Olympic debut at the age of 36.

Lee: team bronze at the European Cross Country Championships capped a brilliant 2015.
Lee: team bronze at the European Cross Country Championships capped a brilliant 2015.
Image: Sasa Pahic Szabo/INPHO

Event: Marathon

Who is she? To use her own words, “A happy working running Cork mom. Fifth fastest Irish female marathon runner ever.” Captain of the Irish women’s team which won bronze at the European Cross Country Championships last December.

Where’s she from? Lee, 36, is a proud Corkonian — Bishopstown, to be precise — and trains out of Leevale AC.

Olympic CV: Lee only took up competitive athletics 10 years ago at the age of 26 and this will be her first Olympics.

Road to Rio: Lee effectively booked her place on the plane last September when she ran 2:32:51 at the Berlin Marathon, taking more than five minutes off her PB and dipping nine minutes under the Rio qualification standard.

After giving birth to daughter Lucy in the summer of 2014, she returned with a remarkable season in 2015, including a second-place finish at the Barcelona half-marathon and than Berlin performance before finishing the year with team bronze at the European Cross Country Championships.

When does she start? The women’s marathon is smack bang in the middle of the schedule: 1pm Irish time on Sunday 14 August.

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

What she says: “I don’t harbour notions of running at this level when I’m 44. I know it’s finite and I’d love to get to the Olympics in Rio but for now, I’ve two European medals, a number of Irish caps, I’ve captained a team who medalled at a majors. What more could you want from your career?” (The42, December 2015)

Medal chances? Marathon favourite Mare Dibaba of Ethiopa ran a 2:24:04 in London earlier this year while Kenya’s Helah Kiprop’s SB is 2:21:27 from Tokyo in February. That said, a strong run would give Lee a great chance of placing in the top 40 of the 171 runners.

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And here’s something you probably didn’t know… Before she made the switch to running, Lee was a competitive triathlete.

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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