Freya Ross believes the influence of former world record holder Steve Jones can be her secret weapon as she bids for an Olympic spot in tomorrow’s Virgin Money London Marathon.
The Capital hope, 32, is one of a handful of Scots who have headed south in search for the qualifying times and performances required to impress UK Athletics selectors before their team for Rio 2016 is confirmed on Tuesday.
Plagued by injuries over the past two years, it will be the first competitive outing for Ross at the distance since 2013. With a curtailed build-up, it will be a leap into the unknown with a hope her body holds up.
But a lengthy training stint in Colorado under the watchful eye of Jones has restored belief that the Edinburgh AC athlete can deliver when it counts as she chases the required time of two hours and 31 minutes.
“He’s been a big help, keeping me positive,” Ross confirmed. “Since 2012 I’ve had four stress fractures, so it’s been a little bit one thing after another. I suppose it’s only really unlucky that its been a series of them, but also each time I’ve overcome one of them I’ve got back to a level where I’ve been getting back to where I want to be.
“Getting back into racing has helped keep motivation up there and make me think I can get back to where I want to be.”
Getting to Rio would be a massive accomplishment after enduring so much pain. And it would be a level above London 2012 when she was drafted in at the last minute to replace the injured Paula Radcliffe, and finish as the leading British woman in 44th place.
“My quickest time has still been from London in 2012,” Ross said. “I want to get back to being in that shape again and hopefully go quicker than that.”
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia’s Tigist Tufa return to defend their men’s and women’s titles in a world-class field while Callum and Derek Hawkins head Scottish hopes of earning a place in the UK team for Rio.