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Fionnuala McCormack smashes marathon PB to secure Tokyo 2020 qualification

The Wicklow native finished fifth in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

FIONNUALA MCCORMACK WILL compete in her fourth Olympic Games next summer after she secured qualification for Tokyo 2020 by smashing her personal best at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

The 35-year-old shaved almost four minutes off her previous best as she crossed in a time of 2:26:47, moving her into second on the Irish all-time list behind Catherina McKiernan.

chicago-marathon McCormack on her way to a fifth-place finish in Chicago. Source: Paul Beaty

In a race won by Kenya Brigid Kosgei, who shattered Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record, Wicklow native McCormack finished fifth. 

Kosgei — who clocked 2:14:4 — broke the mark of 2:15:25 set by Radcliffe in the London Marathon in April 2003 as she won in Chicago for the second straight year.

Kosgei, the 25-year-old who also won this year’s London Marathon, quickly separated herself from the field and she crossed the finish line alone, with Ethiopians Ababel Yeshaneh and Gelete Burka a distant second and third in 2:20:51 and 2:20:55.

McCormack’s qualification for Tokyo rounded off an excellent week for Team Ireland, after Rhys McClenaghan made history at the World Gymnastics Championships with pommel horse bronze. 

McCormack, who finished 20th in the Rio marathon in 2016, joins McClenaghan, modern pentathlete Natalya Coyle and swimmers Darragh Greene and Shane Ryan in assuring themselves of places at next summer’s Games. 

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Ryan Bailey

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