With her Olympic fate now resting with the Canadian Olympic Committee, Brantford’s Krista DuChene will continue to train as hard as ever.
But the 35-year-old mother of three is not letting the chase for an appearance at the 2012 Olympic Games consume her.
“If God wants me to be there, I’ll be there,” she said while training this week at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre. “I won’t put every bit of energy into this appeal, but I’ll keep training as if things will work out.”
Last week, DuChene finished seventh at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon in the Netherlands with a time of 2:32.06, improving her personal best by nearly seven minutes and besting the International Association of Athletics Federations’ Olympic standard by nearly five minutes.
But the Canadian Olympic Committee imposes a stricter standard of 2:29.55 to keep athletes competitive on the international stage.
That means DuChene and fellow Canadian Lanni Marchant of London – who finished 16 seconds ahead of DuChene in Rotterdam – are forced into a formal appeal process to win the hearts and minds of the COC.
“There are definitely things we can argue in this appeal,” DuChene said. “It also helps that Lanni is a lawyer with a degree in sports law.”
One factor DuChene will point out is that she is still peaking ahead of the 2012 Games.
She gave birth to her youngest daughter little more than a year ago, in March 2011, and noted that she stopped nursing just two weeks before the Rotterdam Marathon.
Finishing with a personal best at such an important moment will also be a factor, said DuChene’s coach Rick Mannen.
“They look at something called performance on demand,” Mannen said. “That is when there is a lot of pressure and you come through in the clutch. Under the conditions of this race, with a high nose wind and the stress to try and make the qualifying time, both DuChene and Marchant performed on demand.”
DuChene noted that women marathoners tend to peak in their mid to late-30s.
“The winner of the last gold medal at the Olympic was 38 years old (Constantina Dita from Romania),” DuChene said. “I feel fresh and young, but I have experience now. Many people have been doing the hard training for this for 20 years. I went to university and played hockey before having kids and getting back into running. I think it gives me an advantage.”
DuChene has two boys, six and four, and a one-year-old girl. She compared running a marathon to having kids.
“It doesn’t get any easier, but you at least know what to expect,” she said. “It’s never easy and it shouldn’t be. But I never had a moment during the Rotterdam race when I doubted myself in any way. I was mentally able to hold myself together even when I saw I was off the pace of the Canadian standard. I just stuck to the game plan.”
Even if the committee takes a hard line on DuChene and Marchant’s appeal, the Brantford runner feels that her recent performance has opened a lot of doors.
“There is the world championships in Moscow next year and the 2016 Olympics to consider,” she said. “It all makes me train so much harder.”
DuChene said the formal appeal to the COC should happen within a week and she hopes for a timely response.
“They know the decision will affect our training and other races,” DuChene said.