Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Irish woman runs a record 106 marathons in one year
At the end of 2015, Brenda O'Keeffe from Cavan finished her final race in Braintree, England to make it an incredible 106 marathons completed for the year. This total which includes several ultras is a new Irish and possibly European Women's record.
Brenda who is a professional chef only started running five years ago in 2010 when she was 32 years old and completed her first marathon that year. She has been a regular on the marathon circuit in Ireland ever since and set a new Irish record of 74 marathons in one year in 2014 which included a first place finish in the Portumna 100km in June.
In 2015, her 106 marathon total added up to an amazing 5,356miles or 8,988kms. Her busiest month was last August when she ran 20 marathons in that month alone. Out of the 106 marathons completed during the year, several were Ultra-Marathons. The most impressive of which was probably Brenda finishing second in the Irish National 24 hour championships in Belfast last July when she completed 106 miles in the 24 hour period.
In a recent media interview, Brenda said..."Back in 2009 I was in a bar in Dublin and all these ladies were celebrating finishing the 10km mini marathon. I decided there and then I was going to do it the following year. Not only did I run the 2010 mini marathon, just four months later I ran the full Dublin city one and six days after that another in Berlin. This was only the beginning, the beginning of something that would change my life. Last year I ran the most marathons run by a woman in Ireland in a calendar year - 74.
But at this stage I have trained my body to get through the pain which stood me in good stead last year when I came 1st in the Portumna 100km. At around the 80km mark I was actually getting sick and wasn't able to take on any fluids. I was in the lead and was determined to stay ahead. So I literally taught myself that day to run and get sick at the same time. A lot was learnt that day.
I know it sounds strange to willingly put yourself through that kind of torture, but I ended up winning that day and learned how far I can push myself. Last year I did ten marathons in ten consecutive days and on the first day I had porridge, chicken, salad, soup and pasta, but by day four it was Tayto and chips! I really wanted to have something nourishing, but my body was having none of it and so it got to the stage where I was eating Refresher sweets for breakfast. Every runner has different dietary needs. On the morning of a marathon I would usually have porridge and a banana. The combination keeps me fueled."
In 2016, Brenda plans to complete a 200 mile race in Wales as well as at least one 48 hour race, two 24 hour ones and the 56 mile Comrades Ultra marathon in South Africa.
This is an interview with Brenda after she had ran 74 marathons in 2014...