The Commonwealth and European track medallist will race over 26.2 miles for the first time next month with eyes on Tokyo 2020.
British Olympian Steph Twell, who has been making a move to the roads after a fine career in cross country and track, will compete at the Valencia Marathon on December 2.
Twell is now coached Geoff Wightman and will take the step into the unknown after a strong seventh place finish at the Commonwealth Half Marathon in October.
“At this stage of my career it just feels right to finally step up and challenge myself over the marathon distance,” says the 29 year-old, who currently training in America. “I’ve always had ambitions to see how I fare over 26.2 miles.
“Since becoming five times British 5000m champion on the track, I feel now would be a great time to dip my feet in the water to see if I can also have similar success on the roads.”
For the Scottish athlete it will also be the realisation of long-held ambition fed by admiration for the likes of Paula Radcliffe.
“Ever since winning the London Mini Marathon, having Paula Radcliffe as one of my early role models as well as always being able to cope with a healthy volume of training, I have had hopes to one day turn to this event and become a marathoner myself,” she says.
Valencia will be an opportunity for Twell to gain experience of racing the distance and what is required in future training with the marathon at the Olympic Games in Tokyo a real possibility.
“With two years to the Olympics, I’m aware it is no easy task to tackle the marathon (and qualify) but I have hopes to make my best impact at Tokyo 2020 and the marathon might be one of the ways I can reach this goal,” she explains.
“So Geoff and I have chosen to race the Valencia Marathon on December 2 to gain experience of the race and for me to understand what further marathon training requires.
“Following only a short break after the Europeans, yet celebrating my recent wedding nuptials and honeymoon, I’m interested to see how I will cope with the distance -without really throwing everything into it for my first one.
“Geoff and I can then decide what is my best strategy ahead of the World Champs and Tokyo 2020, whilst still not neglecting dropping down in distance from the training the marathon will give me.
“Currently, I am training in Flagstaff for four weeks before racing in Valencia and then the plan is to take a three-week break.”
Scotland’s Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Robbie Simpson, had been set to join Twell in Spain but a back injury a few weeks cost him training and that plan has now been shelved.
Simpson will now turn his attention to cross country in Scotland over the next few weeks after missing out on Valencia.
“I had been training quite hard and feeling good, but when I was running downhill one day, I jarred my back,” he explains. “It stiffened up a little during the run but when I stopped it became really painful. For a few days it was difficult to walk and was incredibly uncomfortable.
“There was inflammation and that was impacting on a nerve which was the main cause of the pain and discomfort. I’ve been getting treatment and it is easing off now but it has taken a long time.
“So it seems I won’t be doing the Valencia marathon in December. Over the past few days I’ve been able to do a fair amount of cross-training on a so hopefully I haven’t lost too much fitness. But now I need to concentrate on getting back to my running.”
Callum Hawkins is also set to make his return to marathon racing in December and will take on the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan.
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