Olympic Marathon Trials
With the Olympics postponed until next year, Kew Gardens has been announced as the host venue for the Olympic Marathon Trials on 26th March 2021. All athletes that will be competing at the event have been invited.
There will be runners competing over the 26.2 miles distance for the first time, alongside seasoned marathoners, all battling it out for that Olympic Qualifying time to secure their place on the team for Tokyo.
For the men, the standard lies at 2:11:30 and the women will be racing to dip under the 2:29:30 barrier. However, with only three spots up for grabs, it isn’t just about securing the time. With British distance running being in one of the best positions it has been in for years, no one can say who will take those Olympic positions. Callum Hawkins has already been pre-selected for the men’s team, but all spots are up for grabs on the women’s team.
Before we talk to a few of the athletes competing, lets look at the course itself. The course has been described by organisers as a fast, flat 5.5km loop which does not have any significant elevation, is sheltered from the wind, and should be able to help athletes hit those Olympic qualifying marks. The trials usually take place at the infamous London Marathon, but in light of the current pandemic, the decision has been made to let athletes battle it out around the botanical gardens at Kew. A statement from UKA said, “The venue was selected due to its ability to minimise issues that may arise as a result of the current pandemic. Following lengthy consultations across a host of stakeholders, the need to stage a race that could continue to be deemed viable under the potential of tightening Covid restrictions was a priority.”. We just hope this does not weaken the opportunity for athletes to hit those qualifying times. However, with British marathon running in an incredibly strong place, we have no doubt that those top three places will be filled with some outstanding athletes who smash that qualifying time on the day.
We spoke to 4 athletes, Hayley Carruthers, Becky Briggs, Tom Evans and Paul Navesey, all looking to see what they can do at the trials in March ahead of the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
Each athlete deserves their own article.