Monday 16 September 2019

Marathon not a young woman's game - Lee

Rio Olympian Lizzie Lee. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Rio Olympian Lizzie Lee. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Cliona Foley

Rio Olympian Lizzie Lee believes age is no impediment to running faster marathons and says becoming a mother has helped her get quicker this year, writes Cliona Foley.

Sonia O'Sullivan recently bemoaned the absence of younger contenders for the Irish women's marathon team for this summer's European Championships, pointing out their average age is 38. "It's fantastic that these women are still running at a level where they can qualify and are still running personal bests, but where are the younger women with less miles in their legs?" O'Sullivan asked.

But Lee said the team reflects current international trends. "Look at the average age of the top 10 women in 'majors' (marathons) for the last year, it's 33 or 34," the Leevale star said.

The 37-year-old pointed to top Americans Desiree Linden (who won Boston last month and was seventh in Rio) and Shalane Flanagan (sixth in Rio) who are 34 and 36 respectively. "Marathon is not a young women's game. That's because it is so mental as well as physical," Lee stressed.

Since returning to running six weeks after the birth of her second child last winter, she has clocked her two fastest half-marathons; 73 minutes and 24 seconds in February and 73:19 six weeks later.

Speaking at the launch of the 2018 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon, she said that becoming a mum has had multiple benefits. "Training through your pregnancy means you have a lot of extra blood in your system and higher cardiac output. They say it is the equivalent of training at altitude."

She said motherhood gave her a new perspective on running and extra focus in training: "When you're a parent you have to be so efficient with your time."

To mark the 100th anniversary of Irish women getting the vote, the medals for the 39th SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon next October will feature Constance Markievicz.

For details, visit: www.

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