Mark Kenneally (Clonliffe Harriers AC) has achieved the qualification standard for the Olympic Games in London, running a time of 2:13.55 to finish 18th in the Amsterdam Marathon. The Kildare man said: “I am delighted to have achieved the time, I knew I was in shape but it is another thing to actually produce the result” .
The Mark Carroll coached athlete had some difficulties on the course with drink stations due to the organisers decision to have over 90 bottles on one small table at each station. This resulted in Kenneally having no drinks past the first 5km mark which lead to cramping and a few stops to stretch these out in the latter stages and he commented: “I feel like I had more in me I was up with the 2:12 finishers until the cramps set in”.
Kenneally improved on the 2:17.22 time he set at the Vienna Marathon back in April when he last attempted to achieve the standard. Gary Thornton (Galway City Harriers) finished further down the field in 29th in 2:19:27, outside the qualification standard of 2:15.00.
Kenneally thus becomes the first Irish athlete to reach the qualifying standard for London in the marathon, although it doesn’t guarantee his selection.
In addition to Thornton, Alistair Cragg, Sean Connelly and Martin Fagan are among other Irish athletes hoping to make the London Marathon qualifying mark, with a maximum of three places available per country.
Martin Fagan came agonisingly close in Chicago last week (he was on 2:11 pace when dropping out with a mile a go) and will try again in the new year; Seán Connolly is targeting sub-2:15 in Dublin at the end of the month, and in December Alistair Cragg runs the Fukuoka marathon in Japan.