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Heroine Jillian proves cystic fibrosis can't hold her back

JILLIAN McNulty, left, started her marathon without fanfare but came home a hero.

The 36-year-old from Longford town has cystic fibrosis and hit the road at 5am, hours before her fellow participants. She completed the course in eight hours and 35 minutes.

"It was absolutely pitch dark when we started, we were the only ones on the course, it was freezing cold," she said as she relaxed afterwards in a hotel. She was joined by her trainer Karl Henry, who kept her spirits up as she laboured around the tail end of the route.

"I got very tired around mile 23. That was tough. I was dragging my feet for a while."

However, all that changed as she neared the finish line. "It was unbelievable, so many people had come out to support me. I asked people on my blog to wear pink and it was a sea of pink. It was so overwhelming."

Jillian decided to embark on the challenge several months ago as she lay in hospital having been told her lung function was poor and unlikely to get better.

"I signed up there and then. I only had five months' training -- and three months of that was spent in hospital. But it was all worth it," she said.

She is one of a small group of cystic fibrosis sufferers to complete the marathon and did it to raise awareness of the condition.

Irish Independent