Cork’s Aoife Cooke surpassed the qualifying standard for the upcoming Olympics with a win at the elite Cheshire Marathon on Sunday.
Notching a time of 2.28.36 she was almost an entire minute beyond the golden Olympic mark of 2:29:30.
Not only did this exceed her former fastest time of 2:32:34 set in her most recent race of the 2019 Irish marathon, it also places her fourth on the all-time national record list, just behind Catherina McKiernan, Fionnuala McCormack, Carey May and one spot ahead of Sonia O’Sullivan.
Extraordinary...34-year-old @cooke_aoife only emerged as an elite athlete 18 months ago & she’s now going to the Olympics with her 2.28.36 Marathon clocking in Cheshire. But agony for 41 yr-old Anne Marie McGlynn who ran 2.29.34 in Cheshire missing Olympic standard by just 4 secs https://t.co/vk4cqGasNG
— Greg Allen (@gregallenRTE) April 25, 2021
She now joins McCormack on the road to Tokyo, after she qualified for the Games this summer in the 2019 Chicago marathon, racing 2:26.47.
Unlucky to miss out on the Olympic standard in the same Cheshire proceeding was Letterkenny AC's Ann-Maria McGlynn who finished up third overall with a PB of 2:29:34, four seconds outside of the requirement.
Speaking after the outing, Cooke said she was “absolutely thrilled” with the result.
“The surface was hard enough on the legs, being country roads, but look no complaints at all, and I’m so grateful for the organisers to put on the race, after such a long wait. I would have run a marathon anywhere at this stage” said the Eagle AC runner.
“Things got tough, over the last few miles, the wind seemed to pick up, it got a bit warmer too, but to finish under the qualifying time by a minute is phenomenal, so I’m delighted.”
Thanks everyone for all the kind messages. I think it’s going to take me 2 hours 28minutes and 36 seconds to go through all of them! But for now it’s ‘recovery’ time ? pic.twitter.com/kJLlTFqSaP
— Aoife Cooke (@cooke_aoife) April 25, 2021