Stamford athlete Aaron Scott secures elite place in this year's London Marathon
Stamford race ace Aaron Scott believes it will be ‘amazing’ to take his place among the elite runners in this year’s London Marathon.
Scott and his second claim Helpston Harriers team-mate Josh Lunn will line up with the cream of the crop in the famous race on Sunday, October 4.
There had been disappointment on the running scene after the organisers were left with no choice but to pull the plug on this autumn’s rearranged mass participation 2020 event.
However, a version of the iconic race will go-ahead for elite runners only on a 20-lap spectator free course around St James Park in the heart of the capital.
Scott said: “I think they’re announcing full start lists in a few weeks but it’s amazing to be part of such a unique event.
“I think there is going to be 40 to 50 maximum on the start line for both the men’s and the ladies races. That will only include a dozen domestic athletes, so to feature with Josh is incredible.”
Scott has been keeping himself busy during the coronavirus pandemic which has seen the cancellation of all the races he would usually enter.
He added: “Training over lockdown has been on track.
“I worked on my 5km speed and managed five or six efforts of between 14:30 and 14:45 which was plenty fast enough for where I wanted to be.
“I have done plenty of laps of the Stamford Town Cricket Club outfield. I reckon I’ve racked up more than 1,000 miles around the boundary. People might think that’s a little odd, but all of us runners are a bit bonkers.
“The good thing about the pitch is that it’s fast, traffic-free and I can switch off and just use my lap times to compare week on week, month on month or even year on year improvement.
“I can also practice hydration as I can bring down a little table and set up my drinks and gels to take on longer sessions.
“London is going to be 20 loops of just over two kilometres around The Mall, Horse Guards Parade and Birdcage Walk, so it’s also good mental preparation for that.”
Scott has set his sights high ahead of his London outing in what will be one of the few chances of gain an Olympic-standard qualifying time.
He continued: “The aim is a big personal best but the focus of my current training has been to forget about any goal times and run to effort.
“Around three to four weeks out I can start to see what pace my training suggests. I’d like to think that will be 2:14 to 2:15, but I also want to give myself the possibility of going even faster, so don’t want to put any limits on it.
“There is no London next April, so also no Olympic trial at this point. It looks like this will be the only opportunity to qualify.
“The time for that is 2:11:30, so that will force a few of the domestic runners hands and, if the only group I have is a 65:45 half pacing, I will need to prepare myself the best I can for that too.
“It’s going to be an odd experience running around a closed loop and I can imagine it’s going to be a tougher mental battle than ever.
“Usually at London you can rely on the crowd support in the last 10k, but there will be none of that.
“With Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele set to do battle there could be a world record chance, so I’m very excited to have a front row seat for that. The only issue is trying to keep being lapped down to a minimum.
“If I can only be lapped twice and therefore around 2:13 to 2:14/pace, I might have a chance to out sprint them both down the mall . . . but then have another two laps to do.”
Scott has a current marathon best of 2:16.57 which he set in Frankfurt in 2018, but he was only eight seconds outside that time at the same event a year later.
With his last three marathons all run in the 2:16/2:17 region, now could be the time for him to take a big leap forwards.
Lunn has never completed a marathon, having dropped out in Frankfurt 2019 with an upset stomach.
However, he has put together a quality set of half-marathons over the past couple of years and peaked in Newcastle last September when clocking 1:04.25 for 15th place in the Great North Run.
He commented: “It’s helped having a target now as I lost a lot of motivation in lockdown. I’m very excited as it’ll be a niche event which will probably never happen again.”