Vale of Aylesbury runner and Greggs bakery worker Anuradha Cooray completed his second Olympic marathon on Sunday but it was tinged with slight disappointment as he came 55th from 85 finishers.
Speaking to The Bucks Herald last week, Sri Lankan stamina star Cooray had predicted slower times overall due to the course layout – which featured a lot of sharp turning over four laps of the Mall in London.
And he was right as he finished in 2hrs 20mins, around three minutes slower than the time he ran in this year’s London Marathon, which qualified him for the Games.
While the elite full-time athletes from Africa were always leading the way, Cooray settled in around 20th place early on but gradually fell away as the race progressed.
There was no doubting he was enjoying himself as he waved to the crowd and even ran over to the cordon to give someone a high-five.
The prize awaiting the top three was not only a medal but the tradition of being presented with it in front of a full Olympic Stadium at the closing ceremony.
There was no such fairytale ending for Cooray, though, as he made it home in 55th place. But, he made a little bit of history in just finishing the race as more than 100 started and only 85 finished in the scorching Sunday heat.
Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich took the gold medal, only his country’s second ever on that stage. And although Cooray did not achieve his aim of finishing in the top 20, he will forever remain a double Olympian.