All eyes will be on the Rome Marathon this Sunday morning where Maria McCambridge will seek a qualifying time for the London Olympics.
The Letterkenny AC runner who represented Ireland at the Athens Olympics in 2004 needs to run the Olympic standard of 2:37 in order to make London later this year.
In October, she missed out on the qualifying time by just over three minutes when she clocked 2:40.24 at the Dublin Marathon.
Maria (36) from Rathgar in Dublin, has been staying with her family in Dublin since last weekend ahead of this Sunday’s race in Rome. And judging by some of her race times in recent weeks, her preparations for this weekend’s race look to be well on track.
She set a new course record at the ten mile race in Ballycotten, Co. Cork two weeks ago after breaking the course record at Dungaravan, Co. Waterford a few weeks before that.
Much was made of the fact that Maria missed out on the qualifying time at the Dublin Marathon but since then she has been working with a nutritionist at DCU to help with her overall fitness.
Her husband Gary Crossan says Maria is looking forward to Sunday’s race. “She’s not getting too excited about it but in my opinion, she’s in good shape - probably as good a shape as she’s been in since Athens,” he said.
“Her training has been going very well and her times have been good. Hopefully she’ll do the business on Sunday.”
In October, Dublin’s Linda Byrne, competing in her first marathon in Dublin, qualified for London 2012 after finishing sixth in 2:36.21. She will be joined there by Ava Hutchinson who achieved the qualifying time at the Houston Marathon in January. Maria McCambridge will be hoping to make it a trio of qualifiers this weekend while a number of other female runners, among them, Letterkenny’s Caitriona Jennings, are targetting qualifying times at the Rotterdam Marathon next month.
Only three Irish girls will be selected to represent their country at London 2012.