ATHLETICS: Mother-of-three marathon marvel to represent England

Jo O'Regan pictured during the Brighton Marathon. Picture: SUBMITTED

Jo O'Regan pictured during the Brighton Marathon. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

St Neots revelation Jo O’Regan is celebrating an England call-up.

he marathon-running mother-of-three will represent her country in Canada later this year when competing in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October.

And 36 year-old O'Regan, who is a member of Riverside Runners, hopes her rapid rise in the sport can act as an inspiration to other women.

"I'm stunned and thrilled to be selected to run for England," said O'Regan. "It is an honour beyond my wildest dreams.

"To represent English athletics in an international field as a mum of three children makes me very proud and hopefully I can inspire others to do the same.

"I've run for fun abroad in the past but not raced competitively so it is a new experience for me and I'm excited for it to happen in a city I've never been to before.

"The target is a lifetime best and I'll be training as hard as possible to try to make that happen."

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O'Regan first took up running in 2007 as part of a social group in Cambridge and completed her first marathon the following year in Nottingham when clocking three hours, 31 minutes.

She then took a break from the sport while having three children - son William (7) and daughters Everly (5) and Ella (3) - between 2012 and 2016 and began running again as a way to get fit three years ago. She has made meteoric progress ever since.

"I simply run for the love of it . . . and to keep me sane while juggling the busy social diary and commitments of my three children," added O'Regan.

"I ran a few marathons before I had William 2012 and I then had a long break after having my girls Everly in 2014 and Ella in 2016.

"After Ella was born I started buggy running to regain my fitness and a bit of form.

"The Milton Keynes Marathon in 2017 was my first race back and I ran three hours and 39 minutes that day. It was very hard work and I was definitely under-trained!

"I qualified for a good for age place in the London Marathon of 2018 and managed to upgrade it to a championship entry after starting to train effectively with massive coaching support from Duncan Bush.

"My goal was to go under three hours in London and I managed to do that by almost seven minutes before going on to win the Chester Marathon last October in two hours, 45 minutes.

"I managed to get my personal best down to 2:42.15 in Manchester this year when I finished in third place and I also completed the Brighton and London marathons in the same month in under two hours, 50 minutes.

"The support from my family and friends, as well as the local running community, has allowed me to train hard and see much success."