To compete in the Olympic Games is the dream of every sportsperson because ‘once an Olympian, always an Olympian’.
Aoife Cooke, whose pedigree is steeped in the history of Youghal athletics, achieved that dream of becoming an Olympian when winning the Cheshire Marathon last April in a time of two hours, 28 minutes and 36 seconds – comfortably inside the qualifying standard of 2:29:30. It was also a whopping personal best by almost four minutes and makes her the fourth fastest Irish woman in history behind Catherina McKiernan, Fionnuala McCormack and Carey May and ahead of Sonia O’Sullivan who is now relegated to fifth on the all-time list.
“I was confident enough I’d be within the 2:29:30,” Aoife admitted afterwards, saying that the long runs had gone really well in training. “I was wrecked at the finish, but then I gathered myself and the realisation set in. The second half I found tough, the legs were hurting and it was a mental thing but I told myself to keep the head, that I didn’t have long to go.”
The next step in her Olympic journey took her to Utah in the USA for 8 weeks of altitude training before flying directly to Sapporo in Japan for the Olympic Games. Aoife is presently covering up to 115 miles each week in training and is very happy with her progress. Prior to her departure Aoife said “Training is going really well and I’m coping well with the high volume. I’m looking forward to the training camp in Utah and focussed on the Olympic Games which has been a lifelong ambition of mine.”
Aoife has been a very prominent member of Youghal Athletic Club winning many county Munster and All-Ireland titles as a juvenile and adult athlete. Youghal Business Alliance are proud and delighted to support Aoife in her journey to the Tokyo Olympic Games.