MARIA McCAMBRIDGE (Letterkenny AC) put in an outstanding performance yesterday to achieve the qualification standard for the London Olympic Games at the Rome Marathon in Italy, running 2:36:37 (inside the Olympic ‘A’ standard of 2:37).
The 36-year-old went to the Rome Marathon looking for the ‘A' standard and easily achieved it, finishing 23 seconds ahead of the mark, coming through halfway in 77 minutes and 37 seconds.
It wasn't McCambridge's fastest marathon as the Dubliner – an Olympian at 5,000m in 2008 – ran 2:35.29 in Paris in 2009, but it was still a great achievement less than a year after she gave birth to her first child.
The two other Irish women marathon hopefuls – Linda Byrne (2:36.23) and Ava Hutchinson (2:35.33) – are Dundrum South Dublin athletes.
McCambridge was well on track throughout the race, going through the halfway mark in 1:17:37.
Although slowing slightly in the second half, McCambridge finished strongly and displayed tremendous guts to dip under the qualification standard.
On a great day for Irish athletics, a group of elite Irish racewalkers were competing in the Lugano Racewalking Grand Prix in Switzerland.
World Youth gold medallist Kate Veale (West Waterford AC) won the junior women’s race over the 10k distance in a time of 47.01. Emma Prendiville (Farranfore Maine Valley AC) finished fourth in the same race in 51:32.
Robert Heffernan (Togher AC) claimed sixth position in the men’s 20k race in a time of 1:20:39. Olive Loughnane (Loughrea AC) finished 10th in the senior women’s 20k in 1:32:26.
And James Treanor (Shercock AC) finished fifth in the junior men’s 10k race in a time of 45:08.