Linda Byrne qualifies for Olympics

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Updated: November 1, 2011

The big Irish performance of the day at the National Lottery Dublin Marathon belonged to Linda Byrne who, as well as winning the women’s Woodie’s DIY national marathon title, achieved the Olympic A standard running 2:36.21 which was inside the standard of 2:37.

This was the highlight performance of twenty five year old Linda Byrne’s athletic career to date and the DSD runner ran a well-planned race where good pace judgement played a central role.

Last year Byrne ran seventeen miles of the Dublin Marathon, to get a feel for the event, but by year end illness forced her to take a lengthy break from training. “I had a low blood count and some stomach problems and it was only last May that I got back into full training for the marathon,” Byrne said.

The DSD runner, who is a graduate of Dublin City University, had shown a lot of promise through Junior and Under 23 ranks, but her career took a dip after that. “I lost a bit of confidence for a while, but I have had great support from my family and friends and also my coach, Enda Fitzpatrick” she said. “I have also found Marathon Mission, the support plan set up by the Dublin Marathon and Athletics Ireland, to have been of great assistance” she said.

Byrne ran a sensibly paced race and only found the going really tough in the final six miles. “The crowd support along the marathon route was brilliant and it was only after 20 miles that I began to really feel the pressure,” she said.

Byrne’s DSD team mate, Ava Hutchinson, was the early challenger for the national title, but it was Byrne’s sensible pace that paid the biggest dividend on the day. Maria McCambridge of Letterkenny A.C, who was considered favourite to take the national title, struggled in the second half of the race and took the silver medal in 2:40.24, well outside her best. Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast A.C) took the bronze medal in 2:42.43.

Helalia Johannes from Nambia made it fourth time lucky in Dublin when she coasted to a comfortable victory in 2:30.35. Emily Rotich of Kenya was second in 2:32.10 and Radiya Adilo of Ethiopia was third in 2:32.22. Johannes had competed in Dublin on three previous occasions.

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