© Copyright – 2013 – Athletics Illustrated
Canada’s top female marathon runner, Lanni Marchant of London, Ontario, is in a good position to prove that her efforts to represent Canada at the 2012 London Olympics, which were denied, were not unrealistic.
Her current fitness is high, training is going strong and she has raced very well during the first half of 2013. For example, March 30th she destroyed Hamilton, Ontario’s historic 119-year-old Around the Bay 30k course record, winning in the time of 1:44:39, a whopping 1 minute and 25 seconds faster than the old record.
Around the Bay 30k offers a challenging and hilly course. She followed that win up with a 10k road victory in the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. Yonge Street is aided with an illegal net downhill point-to-point course, but regardless of the assistance that the course provides, she ran a phenomenal 31:57, which was one and half minutes faster than second place finisher Rachel Hannah. Less than two months later on May 11th Marchant won the Scotiabank Half Marathon in Vancouver, finishing in 1:11:38. The latter performance points to a sub-2:30:00 marathon, according to the McMillan Calculator.
“Training has been going really well. I have been feeling pretty good in my tempo and long runs and just want my legs to feel that bit of extra jazz when I line up. I have my A, B, and C goals in mind. I am definitely shooting to go under my current PR.” When pressed she offered that her plan is to arrive in Moscow, Russia in sub-2:30 shape, “so that I can be in the mix late in the race,” she said.
Discussing the specifics of her training she said, “My tempos have ranged from shorter ones (7 to 10 kilometres) at slightly under race pace to 12 to 16kms at race pace. My long runs are usually slight progressions on their own. I’ve done a few pick-ups in my long runs to try and break me of my habit of locking too much into one pace. Last weekend I did the middle 16kms of my long run at pace with practice grabbing my water bottle… I am terrible with those things,” she said, laughing.
Olympic dreams dashed
On Sunday, April 15th 2012, Marchant, then a law student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga completed the Rotterdam Marathon in the time of 2 hours and 31.51 minutes. Close behind her was fellow Ontarian (from Brantford) Krista Duchene. Duchene, a mother of three, also ran an outstanding race to finish seventh in a personal best of 2:32:06 improving by almost seven minutes.
The IAAF London Olympic marathon standards were, 2:43 for the “B” standard and 2:37 for the “A” standard. The Canadian standard is set higher, based on previous Olympic marathon results. The benchmark is set to where Athletics Canada (AC) believe that the athlete, should they achieve the standard, are then able to finish top-12 during the London Games. That qualification time was 2:29.55, there was no “B” standard.
The two athletes were not selected to represent Canada at the London Games and protested the decision. Marchant and DuChene appealed the decision, but that appeal was turned down. DuChene at that time told Athletics Illustrated, “I think it’s safe to say, on behalf of Lanni and I, that we were disappointed but not entirely surprised. One final step we can take is dispute resolution through the SDRCC – Sport Dispute Resolution Centre for Canada.”
The final decision, after arbitration, can be read here: The Decision.
Onto Moscow, Russia Worlds
Asked about her expectations of the Moscow course, Marchant said, “I haven’t looked at the course, but I know that they held the Russian qualifiers on it. From my understanding we start around the track, go out and complete one approximately eight kilometre loop, then three 10k loops before finishing on the track again. I plan to run a couple miles of the course when I arrive in Russia. I do not really like to get too caught up in the technical aspects of a course,” said Marchant, then added, “…point me in the direction I’m running and I’ll figure it out,” she added laughing.
The course details are here.