Enniscorthy woman and girlfriend hope to set record in Ireland cycle
a Wexford woman and her girlfriend hope to become the first all-female duo to cycle the gruelling ultra-distance 2,150km 'Race Around Ireland' later in the year.
Enniscorthy's Lisa Jacob, a former Irish International hockey player with 139 caps, and Nikki Dorey a pilot with Aer Lingus and a competitive triathlete, will alternate cycling three hours on and three hours off for 132 hours, or 5.5 days straight, starting on Sunday, August 28.
Both girls are strongly passionate about mental health, so they are also fundraising €100,000 for one of Ireland's leading mental health charities Suicide or Survive. Mental health is a major issue in Ireland and with college and Leaving Certificate exam time approaching, it is very topical and current.
There is also increasing awareness, especially with the recent referendum on gay marriage, in the closely related association between mental health and LGBT, especially in the youth demographic.
The girls come as an inseparable pair every which way, and have a personal understanding of the mental health issues associated with the LGBT community.
Lisa grew up in Enniscorthy and went to school in Kilkenny College as a boarder. Sport was a big part of her life from early on, and while success came in many sports, hockey won out as the main sport towards the end of her school years. At 19 years old and in college in UCD studying Psychology, Lisa received a call up to the Irish squad.
Here she became a pillar of the team for over 10 years, gaining 139 caps. Sporting success continued after her hockey career, with a call up to the Irish Rugby 7s team where she was a contracted player for a year.
She now coaches hockey in Genesis Hockey club in Dublin, is living with her girlfriend Nikki, and is working as an executive coach at The Performance Hub, delivering high-performance workshops, motivational talks, and one-to-one coaching.
'I have always had 2016 as a milestone year in my mind. As an elite athlete I operated in Olympic cycles, and probably felt I had the energy to be competitive until 2016.
'In the last year my priorities changed, and qualifying for Rio was no longer what I really wanted. I wanted more time with the important people in my life, more focus on my career, and more control of my own schedule.
'Why the Race Around Ireland? It scared me, which meant I should probably do it.
'I guess mostly it's a self-exploration. How will I react when things are hard? What will I learn about myself and others that will serve me well for the rest of my life? Where will this amazing journey take me? What difference can I make to people along the way?' said Lisa.
Nikki hails from Southampton in the UK. Sport was also big part of her life from early on, where she played for Southampton Football club from ages eight to 18 and represented her county, Hampshire, for three years during this time.
Her footballing career continued when she moved to Ireland where she played for Shamrock Rovers during the 2011/12 season. In 2012 she took up triathlon, representing Ireland in 2013 in the ITU World Championships in London and going on to race up to half Ironman distance.
Career success during this time mirrored her sporting success, when after graduating from the University of Bath with a Degree in Sports Science, she trained as a pilot. She gained employment with FlyBe from 2008 to 2011. Her career went from strength to strength when, in 2011 she moved to Ireland to join Aer Lingus as a Senior First Officer, currently operating flights in their European network.