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Brenda O’Keeffe was a sedentary smoker until she took up running at 32, but boy did she make up for lost time. Lisa Jackson meets the incredible woman who’s since run 230 marathons


Deep in the woods during the Transylvania 100K ultra in 2015

Ironically running was the one sport I was never into as a child, even though I loved being active and did gymnastics since the age of six,” says Brenda O’Keeffe, 38, a chef who ran 106 marathons in 2015, an Irish and English record for the most marathons in a year. “My first race was the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon in June 2010, a 10K road race that 40,000 women participate in for charity. I ran with my sister Andrea and will never forget the immense pride I felt as I crossed the finish line. It was a feeling I wanted more of, so much so that I ended up running the Dublin Marathon soon afterwards. Five years later, my sister ran her first marathon with me – while I completed my 145th!

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About Women’s Running

Get set for a great year with the new issue of Women’s Running! We’ve got three four-week plans for you to set up a brilliant year of running and get back into shape – and we’ll show you how to hit your racing weight when you’re training for marathon. Fundraising for a spring marathon? Find out how to raise thousands of pounds by the women who’ve done it. And don’t enter your 2017 races without reading part one of our 2017 Ultimate Race Guide, with 100 brilliant events you’ll love to do up to June this year. Plus, we’ve got healthy recipes for runners, a guide to avoiding fatigue while you’re training, and six of the best running watches for women. Grab your copy today!