Think about the best week of your life — what was it like? Did you accomplish a big goal? Check off an item on your bucket list? Whatever it was, it will be difficult to match the success that U.K. marathoner Chris Thompson had this week. After becoming a father just a few days ago, Thompson won the British Olympic marathon trials in a personal best time of 2:10:50 at the age of 39, 40 seconds inside the 2:11:30 Olympic standard and officially punching his ticket to Tokyo this summer.
Chris Thompson celebrates winning the Olympic Marathon Trial at Kew pic.twitter.com/p3L3zIuPd8
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) March 26, 2021
Second place went to 28-year-old Ben Connor, who crossed the line 2:12:06, and who will be joining Thompson in Tokyo along with Scotland’s Callum Hawkins, who had already been selected to the Olympic team. Mo Aadan was the third-place finisher in the men’s race. Stephanie Davis was the only woman to finish inside the 2:29:30 qualifying time, and won the race with a personal best of 2:27:16. She was followed by Natasha Cockram, who finished in 2:30, and Rosie Edwards, who finished third in 2:31:56.
This will be the second Olympics for Thompson, who competed in the 10,000m at the London Games in 2012. He holds the sixth-fastest time by a Briton in the 10,000m, with a PB of 27:27.36, which he set at the Payton Jordan Invitational in California in 2011, and finished 11th at the London Marathon in 2014 in 2:11:19. Despite struggling with injuries on and off for many years, Thompson has managed to maintain momentum, and on a rainy, cloudy Friday morning, he shocked even himself, pulling through for the win and earning his spot on the Olympic team.
“I’m 39! This doesn’t happen!”
Thompson became a father earlier in the week and just set a personal best of 2:10:50 at the age of 39 to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. pic.twitter.com/ALOyYfoLrX
— Chris Chavez (@ChrisChavez) March 26, 2021
Every spectator of the race, whether they were present at the course or watching the livestream, could feel Thompson’s elation as he ran to the finish line, punching the air in victory. In an emotional post-race interview, he expressed his disbelief, saying repeatedly “I dunno how we done it!”
“I just rode with what I had,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. “I’m just on cloud nine — I feel like somebody’s gonna tell me this didn’t happen, this is a dream. Seriously — I’m 39, this doesn’t happen!”
He jokingly added that his baby boy, Theo, “has got a lot to live up to.”
“He’s got a two-time Olympian dad,” he laughs, followed by a cheer. Now he plans on heading home for a few beers, and his entire country will be watching to see what he does in Tokyo this summer.