Stephanie Davis says she’s still awaiting her whirlwind trip from club runner to elite athlete after being officially named Thursday to Team GB’s marathon squad for the Tokyo Olympics.
Davis, who combines running for her local club Clapham Chasers with working for an asset management company, said her life had been “exciting but a little bit crazy” since winning the UK Trials last week – with many supporters hailing its story as an inspiration.
The 30-year-old Scottish woman said she never imagined her late career would end up with an Olympic spot. “When I was younger I did shorter distances and cross country,” she says. “I was not terrible but I was certainly not on the podiums at the national level. I ran against Lynsey Sharp in the 800s, and she always slaughtered me. I was going to pass the final but I was definitely the last.
“At the time, I never thought I would reach this level. I just didn’t think it would be possible. It just shows you that everyone’s journey is different. And if all you are doing is working hard and the time is right, it can happen. ”
Davis, who will be joined on the women’s squad by Stephanie Twell and Jessica Piasecki after Charlotte Purdue was surprisingly overlooked, ran her first marathon in 2018 when she made her debut in a respectable 2 hours 41 minutes. Since then she has started impressively and seemed to have a lot more in the tank when setting a personal best of 2:27:16 last week.
“I can’t believe my name is on the list,” Davis said. “I’m still waiting for it to really sink in. But I was so touched by the number of people who texted me and said, ‘What an inspiration you are.’ It’s not something I expected to hear.
However, Davis said she laughed after reading some race reports that she was a senior financial advisor. “I’m just waiting to be told I’m the next CEO,” she joked. “I’m not doing a number calculation because I’m on the administrative side – my official title is Business Access Specialist. I did sports science in college, so I’m not qualified to give financial advice. ”
Her next big run will be at the Olympics, but she admits she has no idea what the Sapporo marathon route looks like – or even what time the race starts. “I know it’s going to be hot so that’s something I’m going to have to consider in my training. Hopefully, depending on Covid, I’ll get through this to do some sort of warm-weather training, which I’m really excited about because I’ve never been to a proper training camp.
Davis said there was no secret to her success – except for the fact that she “doesn’t focus on crazy mileage” unlike many runners, preferring to swim and train instead – although she admits that she’s a bit of a “porridge demon”, too. “I’m going to have to take a lot with me,” she said with a smile. “I hope a Scottish porridge business will give me free sponsorship and unlimited lifetime supply.”
Four other British athletes were also selected on Thursday, including Ben Connor, Callum Hawkins and Chris Thompson in the men’s marathon and Tom Bosworth in the men’s 20km.