Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
About a week ago, we had the pleasure of chatting with Aoife Cooke - Cork native, runner extraordinaire, and generally sound human.
We caught up with her again earlier in the week, but this time we were speaking with a woman who had made mincemeat of her previous PB and had quite literally run away with the KBC Dublin Marathon crown!
Aoife absolutely smashed her previous record of 2:46 by 14 minutes and took first place in the Irish women category, with an incredible finishing time of 2:32:34. She’s still coming down from the high and the Eagle AC member is ‘absolutely thrilled’ with her result.
“[On race day] I got up early and made my way down - eyed up the competition! It’s definitely nerve-wracking but I found some of the Cork runners and hung out with them!"
She started the day the right way - taking her time and ultimately connecting with some familiar + supportive faces. “[On race day] I got up early and made my way down - eyed up the competition! It’s definitely nerve-wracking but I found some of the Cork runners and hung out with them!” The nerves were definitely there she says, but Aoife felt ready and no doubt that connection with your community before a big event can help to calm some nerves.
She started her race well and kept an almost perfectly consistent pace through each half. The calm start she says can make all the difference, “The thing about the marathon is patience. You have to hold yourself back. You want to trick your body into thinking this is going to be easy.” Part of that meant letting her main competition stride ahead (though, of course, never too far out of sight!) and it wasn’t until the last 4 or so miles that Aoife revved the engine to push through the last bit, overtaking the leader in the final mile-and-a-half.
“The thing about the marathon is patience. You have to hold yourself back. You want to trick your body into thinking this is going to be easy.”
Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
And the result? Delighted. This race felt different to Aoife - more + better prep, a constant training partner and coach, a massive community behind her and the right mental headspace to compete and achieve unhindered. She’s confident she will continue to improve her times but for now, it’s a week of relaxation and recuperation - Aoife will take a bit of time off from training to recalibrate, but there’s no real rest for the driven.
For Aoife, this feels like a real entry onto the world marathon stage. And she has her sights firmly set on Tokyo 2020, “The way I look at it, this is my way of kinda saying, ‘Hello! I’m here!”. Based on the number of people in Dublin supporting and cheering her on over the weekend, we’re confident people are listening!
“The way I look at it, this is my way of kinda saying, ‘Hello! I’m here!”
In order to continue her path towards Japan, Aoife will look to complete another marathon early next year and has also set aside 6 weeks of altitude training in Kenya over the holiday period. All in all, she’s a woman on the move and we are so excited to spend the next year or so trying to keep up with her!