At Sunday’s London Marathon, Tristan Woodfine of Cobden, Ont., ran the race of his life. He finished in 2:10:51, 39 seconds under the Olympic standard of 2:11:30 and has most likely secured himself a spot on the 2021 Tokyo Olympic squad. That time was also a personal best by over two minutes. Despite this triumphant performance, though, he was a mere minute and 16 seconds away from getting lapped. Here’s how.
Runners completed 19.6 laps of St. James’s Park in London, with each lap being 2.1K. At the front of the race, runners averaged 2:59 kilometres, meaning those who finished further than 6:16 minutes back were in ‘I got lapped’ territory. Woodfine only finished 5:10 behind the leaders, meaning he avoided this fate (which could be demoralizing). In most races, getting lapped would mean you had a terrible day, but London Marathon competitor Jared Ward joked to Sports Illustrated ahead of the event that it’d be the best race of his life if he didn’t get lapped.
I haven't felt like that since my first marathon.
I'm going to train a little longer next time.
— Jared Ward (@jwardy21) October 4, 2020
Woodfine said keeping track of where you were in the race was pretty foolproof, as there was a giant screen roughly 200 metres beyond the start like to keep count. “The screen told you your position, laps to go, and predicted finish time. So, luckily, I didn’t get lapped.”
Woodfine also added that he was expecting the loops and prepared accordingly, but the weather was the toughest part. “I didn’t find the loops or spectatorless course all that bad. I had done some long runs on short loops, so I felt prepared that way. It was the weather conditions more than anything that made it tough mentally out there Sunday.”
However, despite poor weather and the threat of getting lapped, Woodfine confidently calls London the race of his life. “Hitting the Olympic standard has been such a big goal, so I am very grateful to have had the opportunity.” When asked what’s next for him, Woodfine says he has no clue. “I couldn’t think beyond London. Now I’ll take a couple of weeks of rest and figure out my next move.”
Team Canada has already named Trevor Hofbauer and Dayna Pidhoresky to the Olympic marathon team. The rest of the squad will be announced in the spring. The qualification window closes for Canadian athletes on May 31, 2021.