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Breege Connolly hails 'best run of her life' as Sumgong comes out on top at Olympics marathon

By Ryan Walters

Breege Connolly insists this has been the best running week of her life after realising her Olympic Games dream on Sunday as she managed to secure a 76th-place finish in the women's Marathon.

The 38-year-old produced a brave last 10km to move up the field and cross the line in a time of 2:44.31hours.

And although Connolly's time was down on her personal best of 2:31.55, a well-measured race given the conditions saw her across the finish line at the iconic Sambodrome.

And Connolly - a North Belfast Harriers Athletics Club runner - was thankful her efforts paid off.

"It's been the best running week of my life," said Connolly afterwards.

"It was tough and I went to Monte Gordo (in Portugal) warm-weather training.

"Nothing can prepare you properly for racing in the heat but I'm delighted with my run. It's a relief after all the hard work."

The Leitrim runner paced herself well, gradually moving up from 121st in the field at the 5km checkpoint to 87th with 10km left to go.

The race itself was won by Kenya's Jemima Sumgong in a time of 2:24.04, ahead of Bahrain's Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa and Ethiopia's Mare Dibaba.

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