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Linda runs first marathon . . . and qualifies for the Olympics!

A DUNDRUM woman who qualified for the London Olympics following a heroic performance in the Dublin Marathon says she is still in shock.

Linda Byrne - pictured at the finishline - joined 14,000 runners at the event yesterday and took the Irish women's title.

In her first attempt at the distance, the Dubliner ran a fast-paced race around the city, coming in sixth and winning a spot in next year's Games.

"I was pretty confident going into it, I had run a half marathon and a 20-mile race before," the 25-year-old said.

"I knew it would be a challenge and that I had to keep the same pace, my legs did get tired.

"I just wanted to reach the line -- I'm still shocked, to be honest," she added.

Linda completed the marathon in two hours, 36 minutes and 21 seconds and was delighted to clock in under her estimated finishing time of two hours and 37 minutes.

The athlete will now go on to represent her country for the first time. The runner will be the 12th individual Irish native to compete.