The Women’s marathon runners face tough conditions in the heat and humidity of Japan early on Saturday morning (their time) but Steph Davis could feel real pride at a top half finish in terms of places.
Davis is relatively new to the marathon with the London-based athlete, who once ran cross country for Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hounds, landing her GB and NI debut at the Olympics after an impressive win in the trials.
Steph set off in sensible fashion and then managed to move up the field somewhat and duly posted 39th place in a time of 2:36.33. More than 80 women were in the field.
It was a hard day for Steph Twell but she showed typical determination to finish in 2:53.26 for 68th on the day.
There were 73 finishers and no fewer than 15 with a cruel DNF against their name on the official Tokyo 2020 result.
Well done to our two Stephs and all the best for the recovery . . .
‘The last 400m was like the longest ever – my legs were like they were running in circles,’ said Steph Davis.
‘I thought I started sensibly and I felt in control until 15km. I had in my mind I would assess things every few km and at 30km I thought I might be able to push on a bit. But you just can’t. I am so glad I paced the way I did early on and I was really consistent after that.
‘You can’t go out too fast. I stayed at the back of the pack, I watched them go and that was ok. I didn’t panic, stayed patient and I am an Olympian and I can’t believe it!
‘I want to thank my coach, Phil Kissi, who has coached me and supported me through all the highs and lows of marathon training.
Great effort in the women's marathon 👏
— British Athletics (@BritAthletics) August 7, 2021
who Steph Twell had some injury issues ahead of an appearance at her third Olympics after also competing for GB and NI at Beijing and Rio.
‘I had a problem with my foot,’ said Steph.
‘I was running with some neural pain the whole way through. I couldn’t find my rhythm very easily. I felt I was running with the brakes on, as I couldn’t fully connect in my neural pathway. I did so well finishing, and I am proud of that.
‘It was a long, lonely race for me today and I really just had to embrace the atmosphere and get it under my belt. It is my first step up to the marathon at an Olympic Games, coming at it from a tough starting point being injured throughout lockdown.’
The Men’s marathon provided a sad finale for our #TokyoTwelve as Callum Hawkins had to drop out following ankle issues which have troubled him for some time in the preparation.
‘I didn’t struggle too much with the conditions, it was warm and you could feel it, but it was my ankle that I’ve been dealing with for the past year that went,’ said Callum.
‘I kept getting slower, couldn’t put any power through my ankle. I probably went through a bit of a bad patch at 18, 19km, and then from there my ankle just got worse and worse.
‘I would have just ended up hurting it more and being back where I was last year, and I can’t do another year like that.’
Good luck to Callum with his recovery.
Callum’s GB and NI team-mate Ben Connor unfortunately had to join the 30 men with DNF against their name and Chris Thompson finished 54th in 2:21.29.