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Tracey Morris - how a fun runner qualified for the British Olympic team

It was probably the biggest surprise of all the spring marathons this season.

In last Sunday’s London Marathon an athlete finished tenth who had

trained like a fun runner just four months earlier. Not only did Tracey Morris

finish tenth in London. By doing so she improved her personal best of 3:39:21

by more than an hour to 2:33:52. But that was not the end of the story: Tracey

Morris was the fastest British runner in London and as she beat the Olympic

qualifying time she was officially nominated for the British Olympic team on

the next day.

"5" />It was a sensation – and Tracey Morris’ photo appeared on a

large number of front pages on Monday morning. “When I saw all these

papers with my photo I asked myself: why me”, Tracey Morris, a 36

year-old from Leeds, explained during a press conference in London.

At school Tracey used to run middle distance races. Sebastian Coe was her

idol. In recent years she admired Paula Radcliffe – but without ever

dreaming of running together with her in the Olympic marathon. Originally

Tracey had one goal: Being 30 years old she wanted to run the London Marathon.

She did this and then continued running. But she did not train more often than

three to four times per week and covered distances of only five miles.

After she had joined an athletics club Tracey Morris increased her mile

average. But it was not until after Christmas that the runner from Leeds

decided to start with some serious training. She then ran twice a day, before

and after work. By doing so she covered between 70 and 86 miles per week, which

still is very little in comparison to a professional marathon runner.

“Especially in March and April I felt really tired because of the

training and the work in between.” Tracey works full time for an optician

company.

“To qualify for the Olympic Games was like a shock to me”,

Tracey Morris explained. When her boss saw all the photos on the front pages of

the papers on Monday he left a message on her mailbox. “He congratulated

me and said that he would support me in my preparations for Athens.” May

be Tracey will get extra days off for her training. “I somehow have to

try to train in warm conditions. The training for London was often in wind and

rain – and now I have to run in the heat of Athens.” Asked about

her goals at the Olympics Tracey said: “I have no idea what is possible

for me in Athens.”

 

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