Fionnuala McCormack became the first Irishwoman to qualify for five Olympic Games after running inside the qualifying time in the Valencia Marathon on Sunday.
McCormack's time of 2:26.19 was more than 30 seconds inside the 2:26.50 necessary to qualify for Paris and she finished in 34th place.
The 39-year-old Wicklow native competed in the 3000m at Beijing 2008, the 5000m and 10000m at London 2012, and the marathon at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
She gave birth to her third child only five months ago, and was open about focusing on achieving the qualifying time in Valencia — nearly three minutes faster than the requirement for Tokyo — rather than aiming for a personal best.
Fionnuala McCormack 🇮🇪 runs the Olympic qualifying time with 2:26:19 at the Valencia Marathon this morning💪🇮🇪
McCormack will make her 18th appearance at the European Cross Country Championships in #Brussels2023 next week! 🤯👏
A super 2:15:01 for Hiko Tonosa in the men’s race… pic.twitter.com/hm68V3OuAK
— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) December 3, 2023
Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia won with a time of 2:15.51. The top 40 women all ran under 2:28.
McCormack, Sonia O'Sullivan, and Olive Loughnane are the only Irishwomen to have competed in four Olympics.