Sporting Pride, the association tasked with getting the LGBTQ+ community active, is hosting an online webinar in association with Athletics Ireland, entitled “Standing Proud: My Life as an Elite LGBT+ Marathon Runner with Aoife Cooke” at 8pm on Monday November 23rd.

The webinar which will be hosted by Anna Nolan, an experienced broadcaster who has played basketball at national level will detail the journey of National Marathon Champion Aoife Cooke and her personal experiences as an LGBT+ athlete, including:

  • the role sport played in growing up;
  • attitudes among club mates and coaches;
  • influence on mental and physical development;
  • effect on sporting performance; and
  • the coming out process.

Aidan Walsh, chairperson of Sporting Pride, says “We are delighted to facilitate this webinar where Aoife, an elite Irish athlete will discuss her personal experiences of being LGBTQ+ in sport. Her stories will give a unique and valuable insight into making sport in Ireland an even more inclusive environment for all.”

Daragh Browne, Marketing Manager for Athletics Ireland said: “It’s great to be working with Sporting Pride in promoting this event. Athletics as a sport is so accessible and it’s great to have ambassadors like Aoife willing to speak openly about her experiences which will hopefully inspire others to get involved in athletics”.

Promotion of the event is being supported by the Frontrunners Club in Cork. Frontrunners Cork are a member of the Frontrunners International movement and offer members of the LGBT+ community and their friends the perfect opportunity to stay active in a social and supportive setting.

Evan Murphy Keogh, Frontrunners Cork Chair added: "Frontrunners Cork has opened up my LGBTQ+ social circle to a wider group of people who otherwise I may have not gotten to know. Frontrunners blends a social outlet with keeping healthy and fit. Having Aoife based in Cork and working with the Frontrunners is a great resource and example of what determination and hard work can pay off."

Registration for the live ‘Standing Proud’ webinar is free and it is set to get underway at 8pm sharp on November 23rd. A recording of the webinar will be shared and available on the Athletics Ireland social media channels the following day.

Places for the live webinar are limited and offered on a first come first serve basis. Registration can be found here:


Aoife Cooke – Athletics

Aoife Cooke is the current National Marathon Champion and the 5th fastest Irish women of all time over the 26.2 mile event. Aoife is a native of Cork represents her club of Eagle A.C. over a number of distances from 5km right up to the marathon. Aoife attended Arkansas Tech University on an athletics scholarship on the back of an impressive junior career which saw her represent Ireland at the Junior European Cross Country Championships in 2005.

Aoife is focused on retaining her National Marathon title in 2021 while also seeking to attain a qualifying time for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Aoife’s Personal Best Times:

  • 5km: 16:26
  • 10mile: 54:23
  • Half Marathon: 74:40
  • Marathon: 2:32:34

Sporting Achievements to date: 

  • National Marathon Champion 2019 at the Dublin Marathon
  • 5th Fastest Irish female in the Marathon
  • National Novice (2016) and Intermediate (2017) XC champion 
  • Athletics Scholarship to Arkansas Tech University 
  • Represented Ireland in Euro XC as a junior in 2005

Interesting Fact: I spent 7 years out of the sport due to osteopenia and only returned to it 5 years ago. My first marathon was 3:15 so I have taken 43 minutes off my marathon time since coming back.

Any hobbies outside of athletics: I am part of the Drama group with LinC in Cork. LINC is a community resource centre for lesbians and bisexual women and their families in Cork and beyond.

Twitter Handle: @cooke_aoife

Instagram: @aoifecookefitness

Anna Nolan – Presenter

Anna Nolan is a television producer, broadcaster and opinion columnist. She began her television career when she stepped inside the very first Big Brother house, back in 2000. From there she worked at the BBC for two years. She moved back to Ireland and worked on the RTE documentary series, “Would You Believe”.

Over the last 20 years, she has produced some of the most-watched television programmes on Irish television, including Room to Improve, Operation Transformation and is now Head of Development at COCO Television.

Anna started playing basketball at the age of 13, representing her school, Loreto Crumlin, and club, Naomh Mhuire, in national and international tournaments. In 1989, Anna won the U19 National Cup with Naomh Mhuire, was named Tournament MVP and was called up to play with the first team, who went on to win the Senior Women’s National Cup that year.

About Sporting Pride

Founded in 2018, Sporting Pride is Ireland’s sport, fitness and exercise body, tasked with inspiring the LGBTQ+ community to get active. Research shows that 55% of LGBT men and 56% of LGBT women are not active enough to maintain good health, compared with 33% and 45% respectively of the general public. As a member of the EGLSF and the Federation of Gay Games, Sporting Pride also offers LGBTQ+ sports people the opportunity to represent Ireland in international competitions.

About Cork Front Runners

Frontrunners Cork is Cork's LGBT+ running club existing since September 2018 and still in full operation! Cork Frontrunners is a member of the Frontrunners International movement.

“As part of Cork's Gay Project, we are incredibly grateful and proud of how far we have come and what our members have contributed to the club. We are also proud to be an active and social initiative with basis in Cork City and we are always welcoming new runners and ideas!”

Visit to find out more.

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