Northern Ireland record holder Anne Marie McGlynn suffered the most cruel of fates yesterday's when she finished an agonising four seconds outside the Tokyo Olympics Marathon qualification time.
She came home with a time of 2 hrs 29 mins 34 secs in the elite marathon race near Wrexham and the 41-year-old would have qualified fairly easily had she not been forced to stop for a few seconds during the race when foreced to make a call of nature.
Try as she could Anne Marie failed to make up the time lost despite admirable assistance from City of Derry Spartans' Kyle Doherty who was credited with the same time .
In the past 18 months the Letterkenny woman has been in NI record-breaking form despite the problems associated with lockdown.
This has included records over the marathon in Dublin (2.32.54) plus over 10K at the Maze (32.43). She then recorded a NI best half marathon time of 71 mins 40 secs at the World Championships In Poland last October .
While bitterly disappointed she has the not insubstantial consolation of a huge PB by over three minutes which is also a qualification time for next summer's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham .
The marathon race in Cheshire produced a wholly unexpected performance from Ireland's Aoife Cooke who recorded a Tokyo qualification time of 2 hrs 28 mins 36 secs. This takes some four minutes off her previous best set in Dublin in 2019 .
The men's race was won by the assigned pacemaker Jake Smyth who also gained Olympic qualification with a superb time of 2 hrs 11 mins .
City of Derry's Declan Reid showed that age is no barrier to success when he set a PB in the Over-45 category with a time of 2 .25 .16. Team-mate Steven McAlany recorded 2 .26.46
Alan Bogle ran 2.31.15 while World Over-60 record holder Tommy Hughes was timed at 2 hrs 32 mins
Commonwealth Games athlete Gladys Ganiel ran 2.43.58 while Olympian Breege Connolly dropped out with a stitch at halfway .
Meanwhile the local road racing season finally started at the Maze where there was a maximum permitted total of 100 competitors and officials for the Half Marathon. The race was won by Scott Rankin in 70 mins 9 secs ahead of Andrew O'Brien (71.17) .
Sarah Jane Cooke took the Woman's title in 79.08 ahead of former Belfast Marathon winner Karen Alexander (85.44) and that permits entry to the prestigious Larne Half Marathon in August.