McCambridge proves doubters wrong with lifetime best
ATHLETICS:JUDGING BY the way Maria McCambridge crossed the finishing line it was the winning that mattered, not the time, although that’s not saying every second counts.
After missing out on the London Olympics – with that marathon selection saga earlier this year – McCambridge came to Dublin seeking some solace, if not some self satisfaction, and she certainly found that when winning back the National Marathon title in a time of 2:35:28, good enough for seventh place overall.
Then, after closing examining the official timesheet, she realised that was also a lifetime best, just one second quicker than the 2:35:29 she ran in Paris back in 2009.
Not bad for the now 37-year-old, who did get to compete in the Athens Olympics, back in 2004.
It was, by the way, also the fastest time by an Irish woman in Dublin, bettering the 2:35:42 that Sonia O’Sullivan ran here for outright victory in 2000.
So, while Kenya’s Magdalene Mukunza took the 2012 title in 2:30:47 and top prize of €15,000, there was no woman more satisfied on the day than McCambridge, particularly as her 17-month old son Dylan later followed her home in a time of just over three hours – having been pushed the entire 26.2 miles in his buggy by her husband Gary.
“As soon as the Olympics weren’t on, for me, I just put it behind me, and put my head down in preparation for this,” she explained.
“The race actually started off really slow, and I was with the leading girls up to 10k, which wasn’t the plan.
“Suddenly they took off into a 5:30-pace, and I wasn’t going to do that, just stayed with my own pace, and had a great second half.
“So it is very satisfying, and that’s the great thing about being a runner – there’s always another race. It’s not the Olympics but I’m delighted,” added McCambridge, winner of the Charleville Half Marathon in 1:13:05.
Defending champion Helalia Johannes from Namibia had to be content with sixth, just one place ahead of McCambridge, while the next two Irish women finished ninth and 10th overall, with Barbara Sanchez from Raheny Shamrock clocking 2:42:10 and Pauline Curley from Tullamore Harriers also defying her age to run 2:45:49.
The 2012 wheelchair title went to Luke Jones from Wales, who set the pace from early to finish in 2:03:29.