Offaly athlete's Olympic dream suffers blow in Austria

McGlynn's Olympic dream suffers blow in Austria

Ann Marie McGlynn with family members.

ANN Marie McGlynn's dreams of making the Olympics Games marathon suffered another blow when she withdrew during her latest attempt to achieve the qualifying time.

The Mucklagh woman fell an agonising five seconds short of the qualifying standard when she ran in the Cheshire Elite Marathon in Wales at the end of April. Nee Larkin, McGlynn ran the race of her life when setting a spectacular personal best of 2.29.34 but needed to get under 2.29.30 to book her place in Tokyo.

It was desperate hard luck on the vastly experienced runner and she gave it another go when running in the S7 marathon in Styria, Austria on Sunday. Unfortunately, the conditions were shocking on the day with spilling rain and wind on an Austrian highway and she made the very wise decision to drop out as it became apparent that an Olympic qualifying time was not possible – the conditions were not conducive for fast races though a Canadian, Cam Lewis achieved the male qualifying time with a superb 2.10.13.

The difficulty the conditions posed is reflected by the fact that more women pulled out than finished. In the womens' race, there were just nine finishers while eleven withdrew at various stages. Only the top two got inside 2.29.30 while an Irish runner Breege Connolly (Leitrim) finished sixth, posting 2.41.44. In the mens race, 32 athletes finished and seventeen didn't finish.

McGlynn has been chasing the Olympic marathon qualifying time for the past couple of years. The 41 year old, who lives in Strabane, Tyrone and races for Letterkenny AC in Donegal, made a spectacular return to athletics a few years ago after opting out following a great juvenile career with Tullamore Harriers.

She was within touching distance in Wales and it remains to be seen if she can or will target another marathon next weekend – the Styria marathon was advertised as the last chance for Tokyo and the qualifying deadline is just around the corner on May 31. It now looks like McGlynn's dream is over but if a marathon can be found that qualifies for an Olympics time, there will be a big temptation to give it one final go, even though her body will not have been fully recovered from her excellent run in Wales, not to mention the effort she gave of going to and running in Austria.

There is another back door to Tokyo available through the world ranking quota system but this is now regarded as a long shot that may not happen as more than the maximum field of 80 athletes have already achieved qualifying times.

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