Our International 20×20 Women in Sport Award this week goes to Mary Hickey Nolan who has the unique distinction of being the only woman to have completed all 40 Dublin  Marathons. A phenomenal achievement but only one of many on the CV of this exceptional woman who this year celebrated her 66th birthday.

Since its inception in 1980 the Dublin Marathon has gone from strength to strength. The first year there were 2,000 entrants with Mary Hickey Nolan being one of 70 women taking part. Today Dublin has grown into one of the world’s great city marathons with 22,500 – including 7,000 women –  setting out this year for the 40th staging of the event. Over the years there have been 13 constants in the event – 12 men and Mary Hickey Nolan. As she says herself, it is a club no one else can join and once you leave you can’t get back in!

Mary Hickey Nolan is an amazing woman, last year she ran the complete coast of the island of Ireland and in doing so raised over 30k for the the Lifeboats ( RNLI ). This year she was off around the coast again, this time by bike, to raise more funds for the RNLI. Amongst her many running achievements she has taken part in and completed the 6 day long Marathon des Sables across the Sahara desert and event fully deserving of it’s title the toughest footrace on earth!