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Raffeen’s McKenzie Sets National Pentathlon Record

Raffeen’s McKenzie Sets National Pentathlon Record

Writes Ciaran Dineen

It’s not every week that your local community can celebrate one of your own breaking a national record, but this is the case for the people of Raffeen and the wider Carrigdhoun area. Grace McKenzie, a former pupil in Shanbally’s primary school and Coláiste Muire in Crosshaven, recently broke an Irish Athletics National Record in her forté of the pentathlon, putting her name into the history books.

It should be made clear that this national record does not bring with it any caveats. Grace’s name now sits on paper alongside some of the best athletes that Ireland has ever produced, sharing a platform alongside the likes of Sonia O’Sullivan and Derval O’Rourke. The latest achievement for the former Belgooly AC star, came at the recent indoor Southland Conference athletics event in Birmingham Alabama. McKenzie, who had an incredibly successful 2018, has brought her form and momentum into 2019 where she has made an incredible start. In Alabama, the Raffeen native not only broke her college of McNeese State University’s school record, but also an Irish national record, after she finished her pentathlon with a total of 4,211 points. The enormity of the accolade came a bit sooner than expected for McKenzie who told The Carrigdhoun, “I was really excited because I had a few goals going into the event. I wanted to get close to the hurdles record for the school and also my own pentathlon one. I kind of knew the Irish record going into it but it was a goal that I was looking at for later in the year, so to break it was just huge”, Grace says joyously.

Just one week previous to Grace’s historic points tally, an 18-year old girl Kate O’Connor had just broken the record at an event in Sheffield. However, the former Coláiste Muire, Crosshaven student finished her day with 37 more points than the total that Dundalk’s O’Connor had set. While Grace finished an agonising seven points behind the overall winner of the pentathlon, she is more focused on the fact that she should now qualify for the National Indoor Championships, which pits the very best of collegiate athletes in the entire of the USA against one another.

Just before going to print on this week’s edition, news came through that Kate O’Connor had just again broken the record at an event in Cardiff on Sunday. Though it might belong to Grace again soon, as this weekend Grace is set to compete at the Meyo Invitational hosted by Notre Dame.

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