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Local athlete selected for DreamRunDublin18 team

Local  athlete, Liosa Mckeown, has been selected for an exclusive training programme with Rio Olympian runner, Paul Pollock.  

The Belleek woman is part of a 10 strong team who have been chosen to train with the Olympian runner for October’s Dublin Marathon, in a bid to complete the 26.2 mile run in under three hours.  This is the second year of the #DreamrunDublin project, which will see the group working closely with Paul over the coming months to complete athlete specific training plans and learn from the best nutrition, strength and conditioning, and sports psychology experts.

Paul set up the project after an analysis of Northern Irish marathon rankings led him to discover that every year fewer than a hundred athletes from Northern Ireland break the 3 hour barrier, despite the fact that several hundred are able to break a 1.26 hour time for the half marathon. Interested as to why the numbers drop off over the marathon distance, Paul mentioned to an NI Running pal that he would be willing to coach a number of athletes, with the aim of getting them under the magical three hour barrier.  The #DreamrunDublin project was born and after pouring through hundreds of applications from eager athletes, Paul selected 10 worthy applicants who all crossed the finish line of the Dublin Marathon 2017 after completing the Olympian runner’s customised training programme.  Four had run personal bests while three had managed to break the 3 hour barrier.  

Like last year, none of 2018’s chosen ten have broken the sub three hour barrier in a marathon.

“With personal bests ranging from 3.07 to 3.58 it is going to be a challenge, but it is a goal which is both realistic and possible for each athlete,” says Paul. 

“I told each athlete when we first met last weekend, that I believe that they each have the talent to break three hours. I would not have chosen them otherwise.”

This is Liosa’s second time being chosen for the DreamrunDublin team. The accomplished local runner was selected last year but, as she was then eight and half months pregnant, she decided to try her luck again and is thrilled to have been given another chance to be part of the prestigious training programme.   

Belleek athlete, Liosa McKoewn (second left), pictured with this year’s #DreamRunDublin18 team who will complete a marathon training programme with Rio Olympian Paul Pollock (fourth left) in a bid to break the 3 hour barrier in October’s Dublin marathon.

The local athlete definitely does not let the demands of being a young mum-of-two hold her back and can often be seen training and competing in races whilst pushing a buggy! She admits though that a year after having a baby her launch back into training has been tough and, having completing the first week of the gruelling training schedule, the super mum says she is “exhausted” but feeling stronger and excited about the challenge ahead.  With her best marathon time standing at 3.13 (Newry Marathon 2014) the experienced runner, who has also completed the Dublin and London marathons, faces a test of endurance and speed to bring down her time but it is one she fully embraces and feels confident that she’s in expert hands with the Olympian runner. 

“Despite being exhausted after my first week of training with Paul, I’m definitely feeling stronger and ready for the challenge,” says Liosa.

“The daily accountability with Paul is a great motivator.  We’re in contact every day reporting back on the training schedule, sending screenshots of what I’ve completed along with heart rate and other stats.  As the weeks go on we’ll also have access to a nutritionist and a psychologist so we really are getting the best training. This is the perfect opportunity for me to get back into full marathon training mode post-baby and I’m thrilled to have the chance to receive such fantastic training from an Olympic runner over the next 24 weeks.”

In the lead up to Dublin Marathon, the athletes will complete  a number of training races, including the Lisburn 10k, the South Dublin 10k and then a half marathon in September, before culminating in the 26.2 mile finale in Dublin on Sunday 28th October.

Offering some words of encouragement to his  #DreamrunDublin18 team, trainer Paul says,

“Over the next few months, I hope that all of the ten enjoy the training and run the times that I believe they are capable of. The Dublin marathon is a fantastic race and rightly stands as one of the most popular throughout Europe. For anyone yet to experience running the course I would encourage you to enter. Failing that, I would encourage you to come down and support all runners and the #DreamrunDublin18 ten on Sunday 28th October. Good luck to you all. Remember, the more work you do in the next two months, the easier the following months will be.”

To follow Liosa’s progress and the rest of the #DreamRunDublin18 team log on to