For Zoey Clark the waiting is almost over as this weekend will determine whether she fulfils her ambition of earning a place on the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the Olympic Games which open in Tokyo on July 23.
The 26 year-old Aberdeen 400m specialist is competing in the British championships and Olympic trials which open this evening at the Manchester Regional Arena.
There are three individual 400m slots up for grabs if the qualifying standard of 51.35sec can be attained but additional places are available in the 4x400m relay squad.
Clark, who won the British title in 2017, has a lifetime best of 51.36 from 2018 and this season has recorded 51.79 which leaves her seventh in the UK rankings.
She has been a consistent and key member of the successful GB 4x400m senior women’s relay squad over the past four years, winning medals at world and European level, but knows she can take nothing for granted in her quest for selection.
Clark said: “I’m excited about it because it’s going to be so competitive. There are eight women who have run under 52sec for 400m this season and I don’t think that’s happened in the UK before.
“There’s little between any of us and we’ve all recorded these times at different races. We’ve not competed against each other until now so it will be interesting to bring everyone together.
“No-one really knows what to expect as there’s no clear favourite. It will be good for me because a competitive race will help me run a faster time.”
Clark, who is keen to secure selection for the individual 400m as well as the relay, will face the challenge with quiet confidence.
She said: “You always have to go into these events believing you can do well and I feel I’ve got momentum and I’m ready to put out a good time.
“All the hard work has been done. We’ve had a 10-day taper so over the final few days there’s been nothing too strenuous. I’ve done a couple of track sessions focusing on race modelling, working on my sharpness and getting myself mentally in the right place and ready to compete.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about the race over the past week and how excited I am about doing it. I’ve been nervous but it’s an excited nervousness and I can’t wait to get out there and run.
“My aim is to finish in the top three and get the qualifying time, so I’ll give it all I can to do that.”
One of Clark’s biggest rivals is US-based Scot Nicole Yeargin, who tops the UK rankings with a time of 50.96sec.
The University of Southern California student, whose mother comes from Dunfermline, declared for Scotland and Great Britain last year and is eligible for the Olympics.
Law makes final bid for Tokyo Olympics
Discus thrower Kirsty Law (Inverness Harriers) has hit peak form as she makes her final bid for Olympic selection at the British track and field championships this weekend.
The Black Isle athlete, who is based in Loughborough, has enjoyed a successful season so far, and on Wednesday evening threw a personal best of 59.60m and believes there’s more to come.
That’s still short of the qualifying standard of 62.52 required by the Great Britain selectors but Law is in buoyant mood and will pull out all the stops in an effort to fulfil her Olympic ambitions.
She said: “It’s a real confidence-booster and I’m sure I can still throw further. I’m excited about this weekend.”
Another Loughborough-based athlete, Alisha Rees (Banchory Stonehaven AC), also enters the last chance saloon in her quest for European under-23 championship selection.
The north east athlete will run in the 100m and 200m with the aim of securing the required respective qualifying standards of 11.45 and 23.40.
Rees’s hopes have been hampered this season by windy conditions which have prevented her from achieving the times she requires.
Aberdeen AAC’s Rebecca Matheson will also compete in the 100m while in the men’s championships, Stephen Mackay (Inverness Harriers) goes in the 1500m
Megan Keith (Inverness Harriers) should secure her place on the Great Britain team for next month’s European under-20 championships in Estonia when she competes in the women’s 3,000m.
The 19 year-old currently tops the UK age group rankings with a time of 9:19.05 which is close to 11sec inside the qualifying standard.
Another solid performance this weekend will confirm her selection.
Simpson aims to defend Lairig Ghru title on Sunday
Banchory athlete Robbie Simpson heads a strong field of mountain runners taking part in Sunday’s Lairig Ghru race between Braemar and Aviemore.
The Great Britain international won last year’s event despite losing his bearings in the early stages, which cost him any chance of breaking the course record of 2hr 58min 10sec set by Murray Strain (Hunters Bog Trotters) in 2017.
Simpson completed the 27 mile course in 3:03:24 but hopes to be faster this weekend although he’s not specifically aiming for the record.
He said: “My aim is to try to improve on last year’s time, depending on the conditions. But I’m not specifically aiming for the record. I’m just going to try to pace it well and if it seems later on that I’m heading for a fast time then I might push on a bit and see what happens.
“I’m doing it because it will be a good test of where I’m at in terms of fitness. There’s also a good field so it should be quite competitive.
“But it’s not a key race. I hope there will be some overseas races available for me later in the summer and I’m preparing for them. So, my training is geared for longer and more mountainous events.
“I haven’t tapered very much for the Lairig Ghru race but it will be a good test of my fitness and hopefully I won’t get lost on this occasion.”
Hungarian Fanni Gyurko (Central AC) isn’t defending the women’s title which means Aberdeen’s Kerry Prise, the 2019 winner, is among the favourites.
She can, however, expect a strong challenge from Hollie Orr (Black Combe) who was runner-up in 2020. Carnethy’s Nicola Duncan is another athlete who should feature among the front runners.