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New mum Maria in a marathon bid to make Olympics

FIVE months ago this Dublin mum was giving birth to baby Dylan -- today she will try to qualify for the London Olympics in the marathon.

Maria McCambridge (36) has already represented Ireland at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and today she took the first steps towards London 2012.

Maria, from Rathgar, told the Herald that her gorgeous baby boy has not kept her away from training, and he's been letting her get plenty of sleep.

The doting mum told the Herald: "It feels like this is my first marathon because I just had Dylan five months ago, so it feels like a new beginning."



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But she added: "He's a really good baby. I trained right through the whole pregnancy until I was told by the doctor that I had to stop at the last two weeks. It was causing a few pressure problems. I would have continued on if I hadn't been given strict orders to stop.

"He's been a great sleeper from the get go, we haven't had any sleep deprivation."

Maria's husband Gary wheels Dylan in the pram while running alongside Maria.

"For the first two weeks after the baby I was just in the gym on the bike for a couple of hours, and he must have known it was my training time because he'd just sleep or stare up at me.

"He'd sleep for four hours at night and then take a feed and go straight back to sleep. I don't know what we did to deserve such a great baby."

The Olympic qualifying time is 2.37 hours and Maria has been emailing Cork athlete Sonia O'Sullivan for tips.

"(Today) I'll be trying to stay calm and relaxed for the first bit of it. I'll let the first half of the marathon take care of itself, you've got to stay comfortable, controlled and relaxed for the first half of it.

"There are always tough patches to the marathon and you just have to talk yourself through it and tell yourself to grin and bear it."

Meanwhile, Catriona Jennings (32) from Donegal who won the mini marathon in June, is also aiming for London and has been sticking to a 14-week preparation plan.

"The first six weeks of training for the marathon went really well but I picked up a hip injury, so for the last five weeks I've been on a cross trainer and in the gym so I wouldn't have as many miles in my legs as I'd like at the moment."

Maria joins a record 14,000 competitors on the streets of the capital today.

More than 200 gardai and Police Service of Northern Ireland officers will run in black ribbons in memory of their colleague, Garda Ciaran Jones.

The garda was swept away by the River Liffey while trying to warn motorists during floods last Monday night.

Traffic diversions will affect the Rock Road, Merrion Square, Nassau Street and St Stephen's Green.

Among the runners is Kenyan Moses Kangogo Kibet, who is hoping to hold on to his 2010 title when he set a new course record.

The Dublin marathon will be televised on RTE from 9.15am until 1.35pm.

hnews@herald.ie