Fionnuala McCormack (née Britton) is looking forward to a new challenge at the Chicago Marathon this Sunday, 11 October as she targets qualification for the Olympic Games next summer.

The two-time European Cross Country champion will forgo the cross country season for the first time to focus on the roads as she bids to make her third Olympic Games.

McCormack ran in the 3,000m steeplechase in Beijing in 2008 and did a 5,000m/10,000m distance double in London in 2012. 

"I’m looking forward to it," said McCormack who made her marathon debut at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in 2014 finishing 10th in 2:31:46. "It’s a different challenge for this time of the year for me and it’s nice to be doing something different.

"I’ve been focusing on road racing in the last few months as Rio is in my sights. I can’t wait to experience Chicago and try my hand at an American marathon.”

McCormack will take on the likes of Kenyan Florence Kiplagat who is the world record holder for the half marathon.

She will be looking to crack the 2:30 barrier with the Olympic standard of 2:42 easily within her compass.