Stephanie Davis admits it is a little mad that she will wear her GB kit for the first time when she lines up for the Tokyo Olympics marathon.
In an era where it feels like sports careers are planned out from the earliest age, Davis is the exception, a refreshing throwback to the Olympics’ amateur ethos.
It was less than three years ago that she was lining up for her first marathon, in Berlin in 2018 in a race most famous for Eliud Kipchoge’s world record run.
Even that was simply a case of following others’ lead.
She explained: “Until I entered the ballot for Berlin, which was just because some friends and my other half were doing it so I thought I’d go with the flow, it wasn’t necessarily on my bucket list.
“But from when I started training for my first marathon, I’ve loved every moment of it, the training and every marathon that I’ve raced itself, I’ve absolutely loved, so hopefully that will continue.
“I’m sure it will and the next one will be equally as fun.”
Davis has done very little following since and clinched her place in Tokyo at the qualifying event in Kew Gardens with a personal best time of 2:27.16, finishing more than two minutes clear of the rest of the field.
It is a remarkable achievement for the 30-year-old Scot who still is, and plans to remain, a part-time athlete.
Alongside her training, she works three days a week for finance company Lazard Asset Management, a balance that she thinks plays to her advantage.
“I’m going to keep going with the way things are, it’s really worked well for me in the past,” added Davis, who will be looking to add to the 864 medals won by British Olympians and Paralympians since National Lottery funding began in 1997.
“What has worked so far is that I work three days a week and I have the two extra days to focus on running, to help with the recovery.
“I find that’s a really good balance for me. It helps me not be all consumed by running all the time. There’s only so many hours in the day that we can train. My work have been really supportive.
“With the pandemic we have to work from home, which definitely helps, but then when we do go back to the office, some of those days will still be from home so it’s been a really good balance for me so that is something I will look to continue.
“I’m sure if I need any extra support, I can speak to them. Going to the Olympics is quite a big thing to ask for. Their support has been amazing.”
Davis had been due to make her international bow in the world half-marathon championships last year, only for the pandemic and then injury to deny her that opportunity.
That means that it will instead be Tokyo where she makes her global debut, a surreal situation which she is still trying to get her head around.
She said: “I was qualified to run the world half-marathon championships but that was postponed until October and then I had to pull out a couple of weeks before because I was injured.
“So I had all the kit sitting there but I was unable to put it on and go for the race. I just couldn’t get there in any sort of shape to be able to run.
“So to now wear the kit for the first time and go to the Olympics also feels quite mad.
“I’ve never been to an Olympics so I’ve got nothing to compare it to. This next training block is super important that I can stay healthy and hopefully not pick up any injuries, it’s a big goal to not get ill, not get injured and get on that plane in the best possible shape.
“I just keep reminding myself why we do this and with the Olympics at the end of this next journey, it’s a huge motivator to recover properly. Although the experience will be different, I’m just going to take all the positives about being there and just being able to go is so exciting.
“Bring it on, I can’t wait to get on the plane.”
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