In London Marathon, Charlotte Purdue happy with personal best after Tokyo Olympics omission. Purdue’s year has been divided into two distinct halves.
It began with misery, with the marathon runner claiming she was “thrown under a bus” after being left out of the Great Britain squad for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, despite having completed the required qualification time.
But 2021 is closing on a high note, with her personal best at the London Marathon being shattered by more than two minutes, cementing her spot as the third-fastest British woman in history, following a triumph at the Big Half in August and a third-place result at the Great North Run.
On Sunday, Purdue posted on Instagram, “Adversity is only the beginning.” The 30-year-old is looking forward; the past has passed him by.
“I really feel like I can put everything behind me,” she told BBC Sport on Monday, her first full day off in 2021. “It would have been a lot harder if I hadn’t had London because I wouldn’t have had anything to shoot for, and I would have probably felt a little confused not knowing what was next.” As soon as the Olympic door closed and I was able to concentrate on London, I thought to myself, ‘I’ll forget about that now.’
“I simply needed to get out there and run yesterday, and I’m glad I was able to do so. That makes me pleased.”
Purdue had planned everything around Tokyo 2020. It was to be her first Olympics, and with the fastest qualifying time among British women, her place appeared to be certain.But then came the Covid-19 pandemic and the Games’ postponement to 2021 – the moment from which everything “started spiralling”.
Purdue skipped out the Olympic trials in March due to an injury, despite having already completed the required time at the 2019 London Marathon, on the advice of a UK Athletics (UKA) doctor.
However, she was not chosen for Tokyo owing to medical reasons, with Purdue stating that information presented at the selection hearing was fraudulent. UKA refused to comment.
“It was pretty difficult because clearly I had been preparing to run in the Olympics for the last three years and all my training and all the events that I scheduled had been oriented towards qualification, which I did get in 2019,” she added. “I believe I could have run well.”
Purdue finished 10th on the streets of London, her PB of two hours 23 minutes 26 seconds just 14 seconds short of Mara Yamauchi’s second place on the British all-time list, with Paula Radcliffe first.
Sunday’s race “couldn’t have gone any better,” but Yamauchi’s 2:23.12 is still a goal for Purdue, who is convinced she can cut more time off her personal best. It remains to be seen if this occurs during next year’s World Championships in Oregon, the Commonwealth Games, or the Europeans, as her itinerary for 2022 has yet to be determined.
“Before I was two and a half minutes away, saying I was going for it was quite daring since it was a large jump,” she explained.
As winter and its dark hours approach, Purdue’s training will become more reliant on the treadmill as she avoids going for a run in the dark.
It’s a decision she’s always avoided, but it’s one that’s come to the forefront of her mind again as the country reels from the brutal abduction and murder of Sarah Everard.
“Personally, I have never felt secure running alone, especially at night. During the day, I always chose sites that are extremely crowded, and someone is always aware of where I am. I would never run alone at night, and I have never done so “Purdue stated.
“My father used to drive the automobile around with me when I was a kid. I did a lap of the estate where we resided. They used to drive, park, I’d run by, and then they’d drive the next section. My mother and father have always taught me that I should never run alone.
“I would not feel secure running alone at night. I’d feel safe throughout the day, but someone constantly knows where I am, and it’s something I think about almost every day. I’ve always done so.
“I normally run in the same spots, but I always notify someone where I’m going. My partner knows all of the loops I do, so I’ll say I’m running this loop, he’ll know, and he’ll phone me when I’m done.”
“Seeing that in the news in recent weeks really brings it to my attention,” she added, “especially when you can become comfortable and assume ‘well, I’ll be fine.'”
“I’m not sure I’d think that now.”