I have been putting this post off for a while, and I am still not sure how it is going to turn out. This is definitely a sensitive point for me, as I talked about in my interview with Angie and Trevor at Marathon Training Academy, and I may not be able to go as detailed as I like.
I am honest as you know, but I also have to think about my future of running, and I do not want to do anything that could jeopardize my selection during my lifetime.
A lot of people have asked me about the Rio Olympics 2016. If I was an American citizen, I would have qualified for the marathon Olympic Trials using my sub 1:15 half marathon, and my sub 2:43 marathon. Both my 1:14 and 2:41 are well under those times, so I would have earned my spot in the US Olympic Trials which will be held in LA on Feburary 13th 2016.
So far, as of May 17th, there are 125 marathoners who have broken 2:43, and another 3 who have qualified by breaking the 1:15 (not double counting marathoners). That is 163 female athletes who have earned their place to race in the Olympic Marathon Trials. Out of the 125 marathon qualifiers, 35 have hit the ‘A’ Standard of 2:37:00, which means their expenses are paid for their trip to the trials.
So surely I have qualified for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland (GB) Olympic Trials also?
Actually no, but let me back up a little here…..
For the Olympics, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) sets a qualifying standard which all participants must have reached to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics. For the marathon, this standard is 2:42:00. They have recently changed this to a single entry point, rather than having ‘A’ and ‘B’ standards.
Back to GB
Firstly, there is no such trial for the marathon. For the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, they are selecting based off the elite field of the 2015 London Marathon, in which there were 3 British runners in the event, and Sonia Samuels was the first to cross the line in 2:31:46.
However, for the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympics, at this current time, not even Sonia Samuels will be eligible to compete for GB in the World Championships (or Olympics).
No runner has hit the British Athletics Standard of 2:31:00 this year.
That is correct. To represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a World Championship race, in theory, you need to run a sub 2:31:00, yes, that is 11 minutes faster than the IAAF Standard.
I am not sure what they will do in this situation, in the selection policy guide it states that the marathon team will be announced on April 28, but I cannot find anything about what they are doing. All I can find is some results of previous World Championships and Olympics for how many they took.
2012- London – 3 women
2011 Daegu- 2 women
2009 Berlin- 1 woman
2008 Beijing- 3 women
2007 Osaka- 2 women
Based on this, it looks like they will take at least 1 women to the World Championships this year, and hopefully 3 to the Olympics.
So where does this leave me?
Honestly, I do not know. 11 minutes is a heck of a lot of time to shave off, and especially as I am not racing another marathon for a year, this is simply out of the question for me.
I wish the selection process was more like the American process; a fair trial for all athletes to compete in, but on the other side of it, the selecting based on previous performances that GB uses means that they can account for superstars who have a bad day at the trials, which is a good idea if you have a podium hopeful.
One thing I can say, is that I am very jealous of all those Americans who did qualify for the Olympic Trials in Houston. I bet it is going to be an incredible experience. When I ran the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Trials in the 10k, I loved it, but I should not have finished 3rd with a 33:47 that day.
Unfortunately in Great Britain, a lot of the trials are just not taken very seriously, as they make their selections based off performances and experience at other Championships.
It is very frustrating, but at the end of the day, representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland is my number one goal in my running career, and as they make it more difficult, it gives me something to strive for, something I will have to work my whole life to achieve. One day I WILL get there, and it will feel 1 million times better because I will know how far I have had to come to get there.
For now I can say I am 11th in Great Britain and Northern Ireland and be content with that. As for my short term future, I am still on the lookout for my speed, the future will unfold for me the way it was meant to, I just have to let it happen 🙂
So for National Running Day today, why do I run? I think you know the answer to that question 🙂[bctt tweet=”Interesting to read about how other countries select their Olympic Teams”]
What is your ultimate, number one goal?