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From Kilkenny Harriers to San Francisco - Aoibhe Richardson on a road less travelled

She may not have been a standout junior athlete, but with the right guidance from her parents and some careful coaching at a pair of US colleges, Kilkenny distance runner is thriving in the senior ranks

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Aoibhe Richardson, centre, with her mother Niamh and her sister Grace after winning the 2019 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon. Photo: Sportsfile

Aoibhe Richardson, centre, with her mother Niamh and her sister Grace after winning the 2019 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Aoibhe Richardson, centre, with her mother Niamh and her sister Grace after winning the 2019 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon. Photo: Sportsfile

In distance running, the concept of giving it your all is widely preached, but rarely practised. In truth, most athletes can count on one hand the number of times they've truly maxed out, entering a world of hurt so dark and depressing it can only be endured on special occasions.

Days when you don't just want to run well, but need to, when you do it for your team-mates, out there suffering with you; for fans who dropped a week's wages to travel in support; for the parents who gave you a start in the game and who'll be right there with you, win or lose, at the finish.

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Aoibhe Richardson (left) with team-mates Una Britton, Fionnuala McCormack, Mary Mulhare, Fionnuala Ross and Ciara Mageean after winning a team silver medal in the senior women’s event at the 2019 European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon. Photo: Sportsfile

Aoibhe Richardson (left) with team-mates Una Britton, Fionnuala McCormack, Mary Mulhare, Fionnuala Ross and Ciara Mageean after winning a team silver medal in the senior women’s event at the 2019 European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Aoibhe Richardson (left) with team-mates Una Britton, Fionnuala McCormack, Mary Mulhare, Fionnuala Ross and Ciara Mageean after winning a team silver medal in the senior women’s event at the 2019 European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon. Photo: Sportsfile

Aoibhe Richardson and her mother Niamh (née Murphy) have both run for Ireland on multiple occasions, so at the European Cross Country in Lisbon last December, both knew it was a day where only one of those supramaximal efforts would suffice.