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Fitness & Health

24th Aug 2015

This is how Bressie went from dislocating his ankle to completing Ironman Dublin in just 8 weeks


Paddy McKenna


Let’s just say we were particularly pleased to see Irish musician/author/motivational speaker, Niall Breslin finish the Dublin Ironman 70.3 this month in one piece.

That’s because in June we sent him to visit Scotland with Eoghan McDermott and this happened:

So yeah, we were plenty guilty about that and when we saw his ankles after he dislocated one and tore ligaments in the other, we figured that there was no chance he’d be competing in the Dublin Ironman that he’d been training for 8 months to compete in:

Hideous. Mangled. Deformed.

No chance of him doing an Ironman two months later. Or you would have thought….

Turns out Bressie’s interpretation of Ironman is quite a literal one and earlier this month he completed Ironman 70.3 (thus named because it’s a mid-distance triathlon measuring 70.3km):

We honestly had no idea how the hell his did it but in his most recent blog post Bressie has been explaining how he somehow managed to get his ankles ready for punishment.

“Injury was nothing new to me, over the years I have put my body through its fair share of punishment. Tearing, breaking, dislocating, cutting, fracturing bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons, an unfortunate side effect of my complete passion and love of sport. However, it was never the physical pain of these injuries that had the most negative impact on me, it was always the mental state these physical injuries tended to leave me in.”

“Never once after tearing ligaments in both my ankles did I use language that suggested I may not be able to do the race I had trained and sacrificed so much for over the last 8 months, The Dublin 70.3 Ironman Triathlon. In my head I visualised myself racing every day, running, cycling and swimming.

“I did not surround myself with people whose language was negative or unsupportive. Working alongside Mark McCabe and the crew at Sports med Ireland, I had health care professionals that assured me that if I committed fully to rehab there was every chance I would be able to take part in the race.”

“I engaged with my rehab to the very last repetition. If Mark told me to jump, I said how high. He got me back on my bike only two weeks after the injury and monitored and assessed me every step of the way. The support you receive from professionals is critical but really it’s the internal commitment you make with yourself that ultimately defines your recovery. I truly feel that in most cases the body’s default setting is to recover, and it’s up to each individual to create an environment that allows this to happen in the most effective way.

“Although it was not a very serious injury it would have been enough in the past to derail me mentally. I would not have allowed myself recover and would have looked for excuses not to attempt to make the starting line. You see another thing I feel is a slight personality trait in the Irish character, is our complete allergy to and fear of failure. We fear it so much it often stops us from trying anything at all, and hence we remain firmly in our comfort zone.”

Bressie kept a video diary of his rehab too:

To read his full account of his rehab and how the race unfolded for him, check out his blog in full on It’s a great read.

*Main pics courtesy of @nbrez Twitter.

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