Leitrim's Breege Connolly leads Irish teammate Gladys Ganiel O'Neill and a group during the Women's Marathon at the European Championships in Berlin last Sunday
Kinlough’s Breege Connolly produced a superb performance in blistering conditions in Berlin last Sunday morning as she finished 31st in the Women’s Marathon at the European Athletics Championships.
Breege was the second Irish runner home in a time of 2 hours 41 minutes and 53 seconds as the Irish Women’s team finished eighth out of ten teams in a race run in incredibly difficult conditions, temperatures reaching as high as 28 degrees.
Declaring herself “content” with her time, Breege told Athletics Ireland “I probably didn't get my racing legs or maybe confidence until the third lap and then I felt I had a little bit left so that's when I kicked on."
Conditions got progressively hotter throughout the race but Breege said she didn't find the weather to be a factor in the race that saw Ireland finish in eight position.
"I didn't find the heat so much today. It was warm definitely but it was tiredness that was picking on me in the end."
When asked about her time Breege said "Same as Lizzie (Lee) I'm content with the time."
Breege was a model of consistency in Berlin as she went through 5Km in a shade over 19 minutes (19.05) but sped up to reach the 10Km checkpoint at 38.04 in 45th place. She quickened her pace again to clock a 5k segment of 18.54 as she reached the halfway point in a time of 1.20.29 in 41st.
A 19.01 5Km segment on the four lap course in Berlin got her to 25Km in 1.35.22 and despite slowing ever so slightly over the final sections of the race, Breege started to pass people, moving from 38th at 25K to 35th at 35Km (2.14.03) and 31st at 40Km (2.33.25).
Cork’s Lizzie Lee was just two places ahead in 29th in a time of 2.40.12 with Gladys Ganiel O’Neill 33rd in 2.42.42, Ganiel O’Neill paying tribute after the finish to Breege for her help in pacing and getting her through the race.
Breege was supported on the roadside by her mother, sisters, brothers and cousins with some great Leitrim support cheering her on.