Olympic marathon deadline brought forward

Donegal’s marathon hopefuls have had their wish granted to have the deadline for Olympic qualification brought forward to May 21.

Donegal’s marathon hopefuls have had their wish granted to have the deadline for Olympic qualification brought forward to May 21.

Four women have already made the A-Standard but Ireland have only three places, like all competing nations. Letterkenny AC’s McCambridge ran 2:37.27 in the Rome marathon on St Patrick’s weekend and Caitriona Jennings from Letterkenny made the time in the Rotterdam marathon last month with 2:36.17. The other two hopefuls are Dundrum South Dublin AC’s Linda Byrne, who was the first to qualify with her 2:36.26 in Dublin last October, while her clubmate, English-based Ava Hutchinson, has the fastest time of the four, 2:35.33.

The deadline was initially June 12, which was considered too late but it has been now changed by the Olympic Council of Ireland to Monday week, which will enable Barbara Sanchez, who holds dual Irish-French citizenship, to try and make the standard in Copenhagen on May 20.

“We had to address a few issues first, but we are now in a position to cut the original deadline, and bring forward our selection date,” explained Patsy McGonagle, the Athletics Ireland team manager from Finn Valley AC.

“What we’ve agreed is to make May 20 the last day for qualification in the women’s marathon, and progress with our selection immediately after that. That means making our decision on May 21, and with that informing the athletes, within a day or two. We’ve notified all the relevant athletes of the decision, asking them to agree to that.”