NATASHA Cockram says that running the fastest marathon ever by a Welsh woman has boosted her confidence as she bids for a place at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 26-year-old from Cwmbran ran a time of 2hr 30min 50sec to finish Sunday’s Dublin Marathon in fifth place, 43 seconds quicker than the previous Welsh record.

That was set by Herefordshire-born Susan Tooby, now Wightman, when finishing 12th in the marathon at the Seoul Olympics back in 1988.

Mickey Morris Racing Team member Cockram achieved the feat despite receiving a kick to the leg from a horse just four days before the 26.2-mile race around the Irish capital.

And on top of that, the Tony Houchin-trained ace also had to overcome missing all bar one of her water bottles along the route.

Reflecting on her record-breaking achievement, Cockram said: “The record was in the back of my mind going into the race, but it hadn’t been my ultimate goal.

“I knew I could potentially do it because I was in really good shape, but I wasn’t in Dublin to break the record.

“I went with the Ethiopians and Kenyans right from the start and it was a fast pace, the mile splits were consistently around 5.36-5.45.

“There were points where they tried to go away from me and dropped to 5.06 at one stage, but I stuck with them and the paced slowed to 6.10.

“They could see I wasn’t going to be pushed around, but I just didn’t have it in my legs in the last few miles.”

She continued: “Breaking the Welsh record has definitely given me more confidence in going for the Olympics – a place is there for the taking.

“The qualifying standard is 2:29.30 and I was on course for that until the last two miles, but I feel I have got more in the tank and there are a few things I can improve on to get the time.

“I missed all my water bottles apart from one. The other athletes were just getting in my way and I started to panic after I missed three in a row.

“Luckily I had some energy gel with me and that helped me keep going.”

Cockram came fourth in Dublin last year, but the competition was much stiffer this time around with Ethiopian athletes filling the top four places.

And it wasn’t exactly the perfect build-up to the marathon for the Welsh woman.

“I got kicked in the leg by a horse last Wednesday and there were some doubts as to whether I would be going to Dublin,” she said.

“I was sorting out my horse, Saoul, and another one in the field kicked me. I had a sore leg, but it didn’t affect me too much, I just couldn’t feel it for a bit.”

South Wales Argus:

The bruise on Cockram's leg after she was kicked by a horse four days before the Dublin Marathon

Cockram also suffered a bleed to the brain before the Houston Marathon when a horse she was riding fell.

The former Newport Wales Marathon winner and this year’s Swansea Bay, Barry Island and Porthcawl 10k champion is set to try for the Olympic qualifying time again in Houston and London next year.

Two British women, Charlotte Purdue and Steph Twell, have already attained the time for Tokyo.

Twell, running only her second marathon, broke Liz McColgan’s 22-year-old Scottish record in Frankfurt last weekend to get the standard for Japan.

Meanwhile, Cardiff’s Charlotte Arter went top of the Welsh all-time 10k list ahead of Tooby’s twin sister Angela, running 31 minutes 35 seconds in the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k.

“I’m delighted for both Natasha and Charlotte, they’re both working so hard to develop themselves as strong, resilient athletes,” said national coach Chris Jones.

“The reward of seeing themselves entering the history books by breaking records is well deserved and shows the support programme we have in place around our senior athletes is working.”