'She's a little star of a girl': Meet 9-year-old Cork triathlete Molly Marshall 1 month ago

'She's a little star of a girl': Meet 9-year-old Cork triathlete Molly Marshall

Last summer, Molly Marshall completed her first triathlon - despite the challenges that she faces with cerebral palsy.

The 9-year-old girl from Passage West, Co Cork, seemed to be destined for the sport - especially since her parents, Maire and Cornelius, are triathletes themselves.

Her father spoke to Her about Molly's talent as a triathlete at such a young age - and how she got involved in the sport.

He said:

"She's a little star of a girl.

"Myself and my wife are sporty enough individuals, so I suppose that [may be part of how] it actually came about."

He explained how they were signing in for one of their events early last year when they saw there had been a juniors event on.

He said:

"We could see there were youngsters in the back in medals. We didn’t realise there was a juniors event on. 

"We mentioned it to Molly, and we said ‘would you be interested in doing it some day?’

"That was the start of it all for her."

And while Molly was excited to compete in her first triathlon last summer, it wasn't without a bit of nerves before the big day.

Molly Marshall (photo via Cornelius Marshall)

Cornelius said:

"The day before the triathlon, she was really nervous. She was going ‘hmm, I don’t know [if I want to do it]’. We told her whatever she decided, it was ok; we didn’t want to push her. 

"The morning of the triathlon, it was total serenity. I don’t know what happened overnight, but it was just like ‘OK, yeah, I’m going to do this and it’s not going to be a problem.’"

The proud dad also spoke of his pride at seeing Molly cross the finish line at her first triathlon, as he revealed she has a number of events this year - including her second Moby Dick Triathlon in Youghal.

He said:

"It was just - a couple years ago, Molly was using a walker to get around. To see her finishing a triathlon, you kind of have to pinch yourself. "

Late last month, Molly was named a 20x20 Ambassador for the Lough Cutra Castle Triathalon - where she'll be taking part in The Widgeon junior race.

It involves a 100m swim, 4km bike and 800m run.

Speaking at the time, she said her favourite part of the triathlon was the run - since you know you're close to the finish line.

Sharing her top piece of advice, she said:

"To have fun and enjoy the buzz when finishing and if you get a stitch when running just try to keep going, run through it."

The 9-year-old added that she wants to compete in another triathlon to encourage people with disabilities like cerebral palsy to take part in the sport.


20x20 is an ambitious two-year long initiative to better promote and champion women in sport.

With the tagline of "if she can't see it, she can't be it," the 20x20 movement has three targets to reach by 2020:

  • 20 percent more media coverage of women in sport
  • 20 percent more female participation
  • 20 percent more attendance at women’s competitions and events

And at Maximum Media, we're proud that Her and SportsJOE is backing the 20x20 movement as official digital media partners.