London 2012 Olympian Linda Byrne (26) will be hoping to set a personal best (PB) when she competes in this Sunday’s Longford AC (Athletics Club) Half Marathon (June 24). The Rathfarnham athlete and her coach, Longford man, Enda Fitzpatrick, had a choice as to which would be Linda’s final race before the London challenge - Longford or Wexford. Explaining the reason for their decision, Enda said:
“Wexford are disappointed but Longford is a quick course with less hills than Wexford. London is not very hilly so it made sense to choose Longford.”
This is not the DCU student’s first encounter with the midlands’ race. Previously Linda has run two half-marathons in the county.
“She knows that she gets looked after well when she’s in Longford,” said Enda, a native of Clonrollagh.
He added: “Last August she ran the half marathon on the weekend of the Longford Marathon and won it. It still is her current PB at 73:48. She is hoping that she might run quicker than that this year.”
The former St. Mel’s College student went on to say: “Linda was confirmed for the Olympics in May of this year. She’s a little bit young in terms of the marathon but she’s quick. She achieved the Olympic A Standard in the Dublin City Marathon last October at 2:36:21.”
Linda was the first of four athletes to qualify for the Olympics; three of these athletes were then selected to go forward to London. The others selected are Ava Hutchinson and Caitriona Jennings.
Since late last year, Linda has undertaken intense training, building up to 80 - 90 miles per week. Speaking about Linda’s upcoming Olympic challenge, Enda said: “On the day of the Olympic Marathon (Sunday August 5), we hope she’ll be charged up, ready to go and will run a smart race.”
The Longford AC Half Marathon starts at 11am on Sunday June 24. Registration opens from 10am at the Computer Clinic, Main Street, Longford, or online at www.runireland.com. Cost is €20. Runners, joggers and walkers are welcome.