Krista DuChene proves fitness to qualifiy for Rio Olympics
Canadian runner posts 1:12:30 at Montreal half marathon
Canadian runner Krista DuChene has checked off the final, and most controversial, requirement needed to compete in Rio this summer — more than a year after meeting the Olympic marathon qualifying standard.
The mother of three from Brantford, Ont., beat Athletic Canada's Olympic women's marathon qualifying standard of two hours, 29 minutes and 50 seconds in April 2015 when she ran the Rotterdam marathon in 2:29:30.
However, once she met that standard, DuChene became responsible for proving "competitive readiness" to Athletics Canada's head coach Peter Eriksson — something easier said than done. The 39-year-old failed to reach the half-marathon requirement of 1:13:00 three times before she ran 1:12:30 Sunday at the Montreal half marathon.
"There was definitely more pressure and hype for me to prove fitness than getting my marathon standard in the first place," DuChene told CBC Sports in an e-mail.
The "competitive readiness" provision is a controversial part of the contractual agreement between Athletics Canada and its athletes. Athletes who qualified for the Olympics in 2015 need to prove they are physically fit for this summer's Games before July 10, though it's sometimes unclear how exactly they can do that.
Runners and coaches have expressed concern over requiring marathon runners to prove their fitness during a time when their preparation for the Games includes high mileage training and strategic rest time.
"Running a 1:12:30 half marathon in April does not mean I will peak in a marathon in August," DuChene wrote in her blog.
DuChene will now rest for seven to 10 days before moving into running higher mileage, executing longer tempo runs, interval workouts and preparing for the Rio racing conditions.