TOKYO 2020

Irish Marathoner Trains In Utah Ahead Of Tokyo Games

Aug 6, 2021, 5:58 PM

HEBER CITY, Utah — Utah has always been known as a great place to train for winter sports. Now, it appears the secret is out internationally for summer sports as well.

KSL’s Alex Cabrero caught up with an athlete from another country who spent more than a month training in Utah right before the Tokyo Games.

Aoife Cooke had never been to the Beehive State before.

She trained for the marathon more often in her home country of Ireland.

However, her coach had some connections to Utah, and since Utah loves Olympians, she got all the help she needed.

“It’s beautiful. The mountains are amazing,” said Cooke.

There are a million reasons why the Beehive State is such a great place to run.

For Cooke, though, there’s only one reason, and it’s why she came all the way from Ireland just to run.

“For the altitude — it increases the hemoglobin in the body to transport oxygen around the body,” she said.

Altitude training is important for high-performance athletes, and it doesn’t get any bigger than the Olympics, which Cooke qualified for in the marathon to represent Ireland.

“Oh, it meant the world to me, you know? I’ve been training for so long to get here, you know? So for it to finally, actually happen, it was, it was a really huge deal, especially after, you know, the year of COVID that we had. It means all the more even,” said Cooke.

She found Utah and the Wasatch High School track in Heber, thanks to her coach, John Starrett — better known in the running world as Coach Stazza.

He trains people virtually to become better runners, and has a lot of friends in Utah who follow his advice.

“Seven years ago, I stumbled upon a running blog called the ‘Fast Running Blog’ by Sasha Pachev from Utah, and I joined that and I made friends with some of the runners there,” said Coach Stazza. “And I started coaching someone, who, in fact, I coach about 30 people in Utah.”

His biggest student right now, though, is Cooke. And Utah was her last stop before Tokyo.

“It didn’t really make sense to go home on a long, long haul flight back to Ireland to go on another long haul flight to Japan. So we’re kind of minimizing that, and the benefits of the altitude will be there, then come race day as well,” said Cooke.

The women’s marathon began in Tokyo Saturday at 7 a.m.

No doubt Cooke will have a lot of fans cheering for her in Ireland and in Utah.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Tokyo 2020

(KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Former BYU student becomes volunteer for Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games couldn't happen without the help of volunteers. T. Christopher Okano, who attended BYU in Utah, is a volunteer for both Games, and he can't believe how lucky he is. 
11 months ago
The KSL Olympic crew in Tokyo — Jeremiah Jensen (L), Shara Park (center), and Alex Cabrero (R). (...
Alex Cabrero and Shara Park, KSL TV & Jeremiah Jensen, KSL Sports

KSL Olympic Crew Shares Their ‘Gold Medal Moments’ From Tokyo

After a year of postponement, the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo have come to an end. Our KSL Team has provided coverage of the intense international competition for the last three weeks, but before they go, they wanted to share a few gold medal moments of their own. 
11 months ago
(KSL TV)...
Shara Park, KSL TV

KSL’s Shara Park Visits Tokyo Japan Temple, Speaks With Local Church Members

As the Tokyo Olympics wrap up, our KSL team has been able to visit several important religious and cultural sites in Japan, including one that is important to member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the Tokyo Japan Temple.
11 months ago
Dr. James Parker with Parker Muscle and Sports Clinic in Kaysville helps a patient at his office. (...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Kaysville Chiropractor Helps Athletes On US Track And Field Team In Tokyo

We have had possibly more athletes with Utah ties represented in Tokyo than during any other Summer Olympics before, but it's not just athletes going to the Games. KSL's Alex Cabrero spoke with a Kaysville chiropractor who is on the medical crew for the U.S. Track and Field team.
11 months ago
(KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero & Keira Farrimond, KSL TV

SLC Woman, Utah-Based Company Participate In Olympics In Special Way

Many Utahns work in some capacity with the Olympics, beyond just athletes. A woman from Salt Lake City has been working with NBC since 2002, doing makeup for athletes and on-air hosts, while Utah-based company, OC Tanner, has spent more than 20 years creating customized rings for every American Olympian.
11 months ago
(KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Utah Museum Showcases Small Item That Brings Hope, Peace To Humanity

An airplane based in Wendover, Utah carried and dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. That moment, and another bomb later in Nagasaki, essentially ended World War II. Today, Japan and the United States are close friends, and inside a Wendover museum, there's an example of how things can change over time.
11 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah Voters 50+ Support Increased Access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Irish Marathoner Trains In Utah Ahead Of Tokyo Games