MARIA MCCAMBRIDGE says she’s now keeping her fingers crossed that she’ll be part of the Irish Women’s Marathon team which will travel to this summer’s London Olympics.
The Letterkenny AC athlete achieved the qualification standard for the London Games on Sunday when she finished in a brilliant 2:36:37 (inside the Olympic A standard of 2:37).
However, because only three athletes will represent Ireland at the Olympics, there is still the chance that Maria could miss out - if someone else achieves a faster qualification time over the coming weeks.
But for the time being, that’s something that’s out of Maria’s hands and speaking from her family home in Dublin yesterday, she was thrilled with her achievement.
“It was tough going - very tough,” she said. “I was well on track but once I got to the final four miles, the legs became a lot heavier. Between the last four and last two miles, suddenly the clock was going that bit quicker and the cobbles a bit tougher.”
Maria’s performance in Rome went some way to making up for the disappointment of just missing out on qualification at the Dublin Marathon back in October. She said her training ahead of the weekend event had gone very well and her husband, Gary Crossan, ran with her for the first half of the race.
“I was a bit cautious and I set out to run a time of around 2.35. I was well on track up until the last few miles so in that respect, I’m a bit disappointed that my time wasn’t a bit quicker,” she explained.
“Gary had ran with me up until half way and I felt good for a fair bit after that. But for those last few miles, it got really tough - you’re just thinking, Oh my God, get me there.”
Maria finished ninth woman overall and becomes the 15th Irish athlete to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. The 36-year-old joins Linda Byrne (Dundrum South Dublin AC) 2:36:23 and Ava Hutchinson (Dundrum South Dublin AC) 2:35:33 as the third Irish women to achieve the standard for London.
Letterkennny’s Caitriona Jennings will be among a number of Irish athletes who will also attempt to gain a qualifying time at the Rotterdam Marathon next month.