VALE marathon runner Anuradha Cooray’s hopes of Olympic success have been boosted after he won The Bucks Herald Sports Personality of the Month award for April.
The Sri Lankan sealed qualification for the Olympics last month with a superb display at the London Marathon which saw him storm home in 2 hours 17 minutes and 50 seconds, a crucial 10 seconds inside the qualification barrier.
After being the Herald’s top sports story last month, the 34 year old could not hide his delight at winning the award for a second time.
“It’s a great thing. Being in the paper means more people support me and it makes me feel more confident.
“A lot of people have been coming up to me and saying ‘I saw you in the paper.’ It makes me feel so proud.”
Cooray has now set his sights on finishing in the top 15 in the capital and his coach Nick Taylor believes ‘he can easily run a personal best’ this summer if he manages to pace himself.
The excellent relationship between Cooray and Taylor is clear with the athlete claiming his coach is like a ‘father to me’.
The dedicated star’s qualification is all the more remarkable considering he receives no funding and juggles working full-time at Greggs bakery in Aylesbury and looking after his young family.
“I run from my home (in High Wycombe) to work regularly, that is my way of training. It is very hard, especially when I stand up all day and then run 16 miles.”
Cooray receives a months’ free membership at Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre and a free sports massage for winning the award.