Hutchinson books her place in London


Athletics:Ava Hutchinson became the latest Irish athlete to qualify for the London Olympics today after achieving the all-important A-standard at the Houston marathon. The Dundrum athlete ran the fastest time of her life to take fourth place in the race and book her place at next summer’s games.

Hutchinson crossed the line in a time of 2:35:33, comfortably inside her personal best to join fellow marathon runners Linda Byrne and Mark Kenneally in booking her place for London. In doing so, Hutchinson becomes the 13th Irish track and field athlete to qualify.

Hutchinson, the national half marathon champion, had been on course to qualify during the Dublin marathon last October before fading out of contention in the final stages. This time Hutchinson was consistent throughout to clock a time well inside the A-standard of 3:37:00.

In Spain, Fionnuala Britton was given a stark reminder of just where she stands in the greater scheme of things at the Seville International Cross Country this afternoon, finishing a distant eighth as Kenya’s Linet Masai gave a masterclass of distance running.

Britton, crowned European champion in December, had been keen to test herself against Africa’s best but was never in contention as Masai claimed gold ahead of her great Kenyan rival Vivian Cheruiyot.

On the day, nobody was able to live with the pace set by Masai as she finished the 8km course in a time of 25 minutes, 42 seconds. Cheriuyot crossed 18 seconds later, just ahead of Ethopia’s Wude Ayalew while Britton’s time of 26.54 was over a minute off that recorded by Masai.