Sarah Inglis considers marathon switch for rearranged Olympic Games

Canada-based Scottish long-distance runner sees silver lining in Tokyo postponement

Sarah Inglis at the European Team Championships Super League in Poland in 2019. Photograph: Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

Even the worst of times can present opportunity, and that is the “new normal” that professional athletes around the globe are getting to grips with.

The Olympics is the pinnacle of many sports, athletics being a primary contender in that field, but life has intervened.

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The postponement of the Tokyo Games until 2021 has been a blow to many athletes but they have shown great resilience, acceptance that there is a bigger issue to deal with, and resolve to be ready when we all get back under starter’s orders as soon as possible.

Scotland’s most decorated athlete, the 400m runner and hurdler Eilidh Doyle, who recently had a baby boy at the age of 33 has spoken of how the year’s delay gives her a crack at another Olympics.

At the slightly younger end of the spectrum, Scottish long-distance runner Sarah Inglis is also viewing the current pause as an opportunity to potentially be in Tokyo a year down the line.

“I’ve moved from 10,000 metres to half-marathon so maybe doing the Olympic marathon next year could be an opportunity to aim for,” said the 28-year-old, who has relocated to Vancouver – from West Lothian to West Canada.

A talented young athlete, and now a PE teacher in British Columbia, Inglis returned to a GB vest again last year at the 10,000 European Cup at Parliament Hill in London’s Highgate. It is now a time for pause, and reflection, but Inglis is viewing the future positively as she progresses from 10k on the track to half-marathon.

“I’m doing fine. My job is teacher and the schools are shut here but in Canada we’ve not been hit as hard as you seem to have been back home by the virus. So we’re not in complete lockdown and I’ve been able to keep training and ticking over. Just keeping things simple,” she said.

“The Olympics being postponed is a blow because it’s the pinnacle of our sport but I guess you have to look at the positives in these kind of things.

“I’ve moved from 10,000 metres to half-marathon so maybe doing the Olympic marathon next year could be an opportunity to aim for.”

Inglis raced for Great Britain as a teenager in 2010 at the World Cross Country Championships in Poland and, since the move to Canada in 2013, has been plugging away on the running circuit and earned national recognition again.

The Lothian AC athlete ran a Canadian all-comers 5km record in March last year, her time of 15:29 also moving her into the top three on the all-time Scottish list and sixth on the GB rankings. Inglis clocked PBs of 4:11.51 for 1,500m, 15:25.01 for 5,000m, 32:11.42 for 10,000m and 32:24 for 10,000 metres.

“It’s tough being far from home at this time,” said Inglis. “But I’m keeping in touch and [Scottish Athletics head coach] Stephen Maguire has been great.”

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