Breege Connolly in action in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
Kinlough Breege Connolly broke new ground on Sunday when she set a new personal best over the gruelling marathon distance and achieved the Qualifying Mark of the 2018 European Championships in Berlin.
The Rio Olympian, one of the Irish fairytale stories of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, ran a superb time of 2.37.26 in the Valencia Marathon in Spain, taking three seconds off her personal best that she set back in 2015 in London.
Breege finished 12th and first Masters Athlete in Valencia, passing through the 10K mark in a time of 36.55. A split of 41.08 brought her through 20k in 78.05 and she powered through to the finish, averaging 3.44 per kilometre.
Now running in the colours of City of Derry Spartans, Breege is now the second fastest Irish marathoner of 2017 but Dublin Marathon winner Laura Graham of Newry.
The time leaves her in a good position to make the Irish team with up to six runners eligible to compete for the Irish team in next Summer's European Championships in Berlin.