North Belfast's Breege Connolly had the race of her life in yesterday's Rotterdam Marathon when she sliced a massive 10 minutes off her previous best time to set new figures of two hours 40 minutes 20 seconds.
This time elevates the 34-year-old to third in the Northern Ireland All Time List behind Teresa Duffy (2.35.27) and Moira O'Neill.
Pre-race predictions that Connolly might produce something special in Rotterdam proved to be well founded.
It was clear from the start that her pace was significantly faster than her 2.50.28 previous PB set in last October's Dublin Marathon.
A rather less euphoric clubmate Gladys Ganiel saw her London Olympics dream disappear when she crossed the line in 2.43.49 which was some three minutes slower than her PB in the Houston Marathon in January.
Ireland notched up its fourth Olympic qualifier when Rathfarnham's Catriona Jennings ran a totally unexpected best time of 2.36.16. Donegal-based Maria McCambridge will now be concerned about her Olympic selection chances as she is the slowest qualifier of the four with a time of 2.36.37 set recently in Rome.
There was disappointment for the Irish male runners as no-one gained the Olympic ‘A’ time.
Best of the bunch was Tallaght's Sean Connolly who recorded 2.16.40. Gary Thornton set new figures of 2.17.27 while Tom Frazer (St Malachy’s) was only 16 seconds off his PB with a time of 2.19.58. World Junior silver medallist Ciara Mageean had an indifferent start to her track season in Cork where she only managed a runner-up time of four minutes 21.61 seconds.
Meanwhile, the Spar Great Ireland run in Phoenix Park was won by double Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele in a new record and world leading 10k time of 27 mins 49 seconds.