Road RunningTrack & Field

17-Year-Old Finn Hits Rio Marathon Mark

Flying Finn

Alisa Vainio of Finland hit the Rio Olympics qualifying standard for the marathon (2:36:00) in her first competitive attempt at the event, running an impressive 2:33:24 in Joutseno, southern Finland, on Saturday. But at just 17-years-of-age, born in 1997, she lies outside the age bracket for Olympic qualification. The IAAF qualification rules for both men’s and women’s marathons, as well as the 50km race walk, state that an athlete must be born in 1996 or before to be eligible.

Vainio, who took bronze at the 2015 European Junior championships in the 3000m steeplechase, is now the sixth fastest female marathoner in Finnish history. While she won’t be able to reach Rio in the marathon distance the young Finn will be able to attempt to hit the mark for a shorter distance, having a 10000m PB of 32:58 from 2015, with the Rio standard set at 32:15. Vainio is also the Finnish senior 10000m champion for 2015.

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Gerard O'Donnell

Gerard O'Donnell

Gerard O'Donnell is an athlete, a coach, and a business management graduate. A former youth international, he represented Ireland in sprint hurdles, 400m hurdles, high jump and relays. He is current senior 60m & former 110m hurdles champion and ranks 3rd & 5th on the Irish all-time list for the events. Years of battling and finally overcoming injuries have led to his keen interest in strength and conditioning for athletes, as well as his current course of study: Neuromuscular Physical Therapy. He is occasionally referred to as GOD, not due to his initials, but because of his heavenly beard, which he has sported since the age of 5.

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