Who is he? Kildare native Mark Kenneally will be Ireland’s only male representative at the start line in the Olympic marathon.
Once one of the country’s top middle-distance and cross-country athletes, the 31-year-old made the transformation to marathon running at the end of 2010 with a view to qualifying for the Olympics.
When he’s not out running — which seems to be most of the time — you’ll find him in his physiotherapy practice in his home town of Celbridge.
Road to London: Kenneally has only run over the full 26.2-mile distance twice — in Vienna in April 2011 and in Amsterdam that October.
He missed out on the “A” standard by just over two minutes after “bonking” on his debut in Vienna but got his tactics spot on in Amsterdam and went more than a minute under the qualifying time, running 2:13:55.
What he says about himself: “I’m in good shape and I have to treat it as if it’s the best chance I’m ever going to have but history would say that, particularly with European athletes, it’s mid- to late-30s before you see the best out of yourself at marathon distance.” (TheScore.ie, June 2012)
Medal chances? With so many things that can go right and go wrong, marathon running is a difficult one to call. Kenneally is a novice but he feels that he can improve on his current PB. A time in the low 2:10s might put him the shake-up for a medal and Jimmy reckons that’s worth a two, maybe a two-and-a-half.
If you meet him a bar, ask him… what it’s like inviting a TV crew into your life. Kenneally is one of the athletes to feature in the London Calling series currently airing on RTÉ.
On the Twitter: Keep up to date with Mark @MarkK42k. Although if you’re in any way self-conscious about your fitness, you’re probably better off staying away.
If he was a YouTube video, he’d be… the kid eating a Bhut Jolokia “ghost chili”. That little thing’s got nothing on a lung-busting 26.2-miler.
YouTube credit: th3gr1zzly