IN-FORM Cork runner Aoife Cooke has launched the 2021 KBC Virtual Dublin Marathon and Race Series with distances of 4 Mile, 10km, 10 Mile and Half marathon available.
The Ballincollig woman delivered the performance of her life to run 2:28:36 at Cheshire Elite Marathon in April, running well inside the required Olympic qualification time of 2:29:30. This improved on her personal best time of 2:32:34, she set when winning the National Marathon title at the KBC Dublin Marathon in 2019.
Cooke's resilience is commendable. The now 34-year-old was offered a scholarship Stateside when she was just 17. Her stint at Arkansas Tech University ended in disappointment, however, after a series of pelvic fractures and a diagnosis of osteopenia, a weak bone disease.
She eventually returned to the running fold in Cork and her aunt Mary Sweeney is a well-known and popular figure on the local scene. Cooke represented Youghal AC and more recently Eagle AC as she regained the form that made her a rising star in her teens and next she'll pull on the Ireland singlet at the Olympics.
There's a planned trip to the US first, where altitude and warm-weather training will help steel her for the Olympic challenge in Toyko.
“A distance longer than 10km can be intimidating for some but if you take a stepped approach which is offered through the KBC Virtual Race Series you can build up to the longer distances with confidence," she said at KBC Virtual Dublin Marathon Launch.
Runners who have secured a place for the 2021 KBC Dublin Marathon will receive confirmation by Friday, June 25 on whether the event can go ahead.
Event organisers are cautiously optimistic that there is still potential for it to go ahead. Jim Aughney Race Director said: “We are still working towards holding the 2021 KBC Dublin Marathon in October. The detailed planning by the organising committee is on-going and we continue to engage with the relevant authorities.
"We wanted to be transparent with runners to let them know the date we will make the final decision while also offering runners who have not secured a place, an option to enter our virtual marathon.
“We are making the final decision as late as possible so we can review the state of play while also ensuring we can start the critical event management needed to provide the quality of race for runners that we pride ourselves on delivering.”
Entry for the KBC Virtual Race Series is €10 per race and €15 for entry to the KBC Virtual Dublin Marathon
All finishers of the KBC Virtual Dublin Marathon and Race Series will receive a commemorative medal.
Entries are now open at http://kbcdublinmarathon.ie #RunYourTown.