© Copyright — 2020 — Athletics Illustrated

Scottish distance runner Sarah Inglis will be debuting in the marathon on Sunday, Dec. 20 at The Marathon Project in Arizona.

She will be seeking nothing more than a good experience for her first go at the distance but does hope that the good experience includes running sub-2:29:30, the Tokyo Olympic standard. Doing so will put her in the mix for the Tokyo Olympic Marathon Trials in London. In London, on Sunday, March 26, she will need to finish first or second in combination with having achieved the standard to be nominated to the British team.

Sarah Inglis at Swangard Stadium. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall/Athletics Illustrated

It is the first time in 40 years that the UK is running an Olympic Trials for the marathon.

“Currently, I think there are five girls who have run under the standard,” said the 29-year-old. “Right now, the marathon build has been going very well. Really, I have enjoyed the bigger volume workouts and long runs. And, I feel like I have responded well to the training and am very fit. I ran a 32:25 solo 10km time trial last weekend. Now with three weeks to go, I am counting down to race day.”

She ran that 10km time trial during a big week of training.

Inglis’s personal best in the 10,000m is 32:11.42 from June 2019. Her road best is a very comparable 32:24, only one second faster than last weeks’ time trial. She pulled that performance off at the 2019 TC 10K that takes place in Victoria. In 2018, she won the Scottish 10-mile road championships in the time of 55:34. Inglis made big strides in 2019, setting seven new personal bests. Three weeks into 2020, she ran another best in the half-marathon distance. She finished the Houston, Texas race in the time of 70:24.

In Arizona, the pacers will go out at 2:24:00 and 2:29:30, respectively. The former being a risky effort for a first-timer suggests that she isn’t going to try to set the world on fire in her first go. There are seven sub-2:39:30 competitors who will toe-the-line, so she will have company throughout the race.

The Marathon Project and the London Olympic Trials races are similarly unique, stand-alone elite only races. Both races will be in an enclosed loop on a flat surface with few corners.

Runners from eight different countries are represented including 40 Americans, four Mexicans, three each from Canada and the UK, as well as competitors from Puerto Rico, Isreal, Romania, and Greece.

She credits her Canadian Coach Mark Bomba for his leadership and clubmates Ron Loewen and Caleb de Jong for their pacing help.

Sarah Inglis at BC Cross Country Championships. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall/Athletics Illustrated

They are all teammates with the Langley Mustangs Endurance Group located in Greater Vancouver.  Aside from coaching and running, Bomba and Inglis are both schoolteachers. Bomba has accepted the position of head coach with the Queen’s University Gaels, however, he has not moved the 4500kms east just yet. He has a family to uproot and a pandemic to get on the other side of.

“I have actually been pleasantly surprised how she has adapted,” shared Bomba. “It’s a pretty short cycle so we are not trying to do everything. Just keeping it simple with two core sessions per week with three of the four being half-marathon to marathon specific. And one being a little speedier to keep the mechanics up.”

She is running the presumed requisite 100-mile (162kms) weeks, give or take.

“This is experimental. If it goes well, then she can do the trials in London, if not, then she can go back down to the 10,000m and 5000m events and continue to improve her performances over those distances.”

Inglis and Bomba both feel that she will continue to improve her 5000m and 10,000m times. “I still feel I can improve in those two events,” added Inglis. “The move up to the marathon I feel will only help my other events when I come back down in distance.”

Regardless she appears ready for the marathon having run a 2:38-pace 40km run just on Tuesday.

Details about The Marathon Project can be found here>>