ANN Marie McGlynn finished outside the qualifying time for the World Championships later this year, despite posting a very good 2.39.19 at the Rotterdam marathon on Sunday last.
McGlynn would have had ambitions of a marathon in the low 2.30s but having had her training disrupted in recent weeks, she did well to get under the 2.40 mark.
Nee Larkin, she is a native of Mucklagh, lives in Strabane in Tyrone and races for Letterkenny AC in nearby Donegal.
A brilliant juvenile runner with Tullamore Harriers in her younger years, McGlynn only returned to competitive running a few years ago and has enjoyed an extraordinary few years, running for Ireland in the European Cross Country Championships, winning national medals and posting some super times across a variety of distances.
Earlier this year, she set a brilliant Northern Ireland half marathon record of 1.11.59 when running in Barcelone and that run suggested that she could run 2.30 or close to it for the full marathon.
She gave it her best shot in Rotterdam as she went for it, running courageously from the start. The World Championship qualifying time is 2.37 and McGlynn was well on target at half way as she went through in 1.17.01. However, her pace dipped as the race wore on and the miles took their toll. In the first half, she had went through each 5k at close to 3.40 minute a kilometre pace but in the second half, she edged gradually closer to 4 minute pace and her 35 to 40 5k was 4.03 pace while she finished the closing 2.195k at 4.04 pace.
It was still great running at a stage when an athlete's reserves are close to depletion and McGlynn will now focus on the rest of her season. No doubt, her appetite will have been whetted for marathon running and she will be aware that this represents her best chance of qualifying for major international championships, the World and Olympic Games.
She admitted on Monday that the race didn't “go exactly to plan” but added: “The experience I gained will go a long way. Time to freshen up the body, get the head down and go again. 2.39.19, it's a number on the board.”
She told the Tribune on Monday that she would decide on her new goals and targets once she gets her legs back fresh.
Tullamore Harriers' runner Pauline Curley achieved her qualifying time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Rotterdam, running 2.39.05 on a never to be forgotten day and it was no surprise that McGlynn should pick this marathon as it is a fast and flat course. McGlynn ran an average pace of 3.47 a kilometre, was 15th woman and 137th overall as she fell just fourteen seconds short of Curley's Offaly marathon record.
Qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will now come onto McGlynn's horizon and she will have learned a lot from Rotterdam. The qualification period for the marathon opened on Janaury 1 this year and closes on June 29 2020. The introduction of a new system and times for qualifying standards for the Games have had a mixed reaction in the athletics world. The qualifying time for the womens' marathon is 2.29.30 and McGlynn will have to jump by ten minutes to reach that very tough standard but there is an alternative pathway in through a rankings system. It is too early to tell if McGlynn's Rotterdam time will get her in through this system and she is likely to target another marathon.
Meanwhile, three other local runners had great runs at the Rotterdam marathon on Sunday. Kilbeggan man, Pauric Ennis ran 2.45.31 as he finished 212th overall. A member of Tullamore Harriers, Ennis is getting back into top form this year after taking time out from athletics for a period. He ran an average of 3.55 minutes a kilometre and will now run a variety of distances over the Summer months.
Edenderry woman, Aisling O'Connor set a great new personal best of 2.51.21. A member of Edenderry Athletics Club but coached by Tullamore Harriers head juvenile coach, Damian Lawlor, O'Connor ran 2.54.20 in her marathon debut there last year and was delighted to improve her time by over three minutes. O'Connor was the 30th woman, 287th overall and ran an average of 4.04 a kilometre.
Vastly experienced Geashill runner, Eddie Garry posted 2.55.51. The Tullamore Harriers member also found the going tougher in the second half – he went through half way in 1.24.36 but lost a few minutes on the way in as he still recorded a good time.
Kilcormac man, David Murray ran 2.46.49 in the Manchester marathon. Also a Tullamore Harriers member, Murray, an excellent marathon runner, went through half way well on target for a sub 2.45 marathon in 1.21.36. He sustained that pace to the 30k mark but his pace went from just under 6.15 minutes a mile at that stage to 6.42 minutes a mile in the last 10.1k plus as he ran the second half in 1.25.13 – he ran an overall average of 6.22 minutes a mile (note, the Manchester average splits are given in miles while the Rotterdam ones are provided in kilometres on the official results). He was 165th overall and 161st man.
He is one of a big group of local runners heading to Berlin in September and will begin his preparations for that after allowing himself a few weeks to recover. Indeed, the local running scene will be a hive of marathon activity later this year as a lot of runners from throughout the county have signed up for the big Autumn marathons in Dublin, Berlin, Frankfurt and other venues.