Lisa Weightman is all set to chase an Olympic marathon spot when she races the Houston Marathon later tonight Australian time.
Weightman has not run a marathon since winning the 2013 Melbourne Marathon in a race record 2:26.05 following the birth of her first child.
“Initially I was thinking of doing Melbourne [in October last year as my Olympic qualifier], but I had a little bit of a setback when I started running again after the birth of Pete [in December 2014],’’ Weightman said.
“It wasn’t until I stopped breastfeeding at seven months that I was completely injury free and since then everything’s been going great.
“My coach Dick Telford was keen for me to do a marathon in this time window and really the choices were Osaka, Dubai and Houston.
“Osaka is women’s only race, so that ruled out [husband] Lachlan from running too.
“We know the Houston area really well and have great connections there and know where to stay and quite a few Australians will know that Benita (Willis) ran 2:28 there to qualify for London, so it’s not such a surprise that we chose it really.”
In the 2015 Houston field, there are five athletes with 2:26 PBs or better, so Weightman will have company if she chooses to go out hard.
In addition to the elite females, Lachlan will be alongside her during the race.
“To be honest I’m really keen for Lach to run well. I’ve been so lucky to have my husband as my training partner and when he tore his hamstring in October, it was really deflating and frustrating for him. But we’ve both had a couple of really good weeks up at Creswick, so he’s right now.”
The holiday break in Ballarat proved inspiring with local marathon great Steve Moneghetti helping guide them through a few sessions.
“Mona’s just had Achilles surgery, so he was on his bike, but he was guiding us and encouraging us and it was such a positive experience,” Lisa said.
“The funniest thing is that we learnt that for all these years Lach and I have been running around the Lake (Wendouree) in the wrong direction. You are meant to run it clockwise, so you could say that Mona put us on the right track!”
With Rio not far away, the importance of registering a qualifier has not escaped Weightman, with fellow Australians Jess Trengove and Milly Clark already recording sub 2:30 times and a spate of leading Australian women about to run marathons in the March/April window, it is clear that anything less will not be acceptable.
“There’s been quite a few marathons where we’ve been a bit conservative, even Melbourne was one where I ran my fastest 5km at the end,” Weightman said.
“You can’t run safe every time. There’s a whole lot of combinations and scenarios, but there’s a fair bit of experience which I can draw on, so I’ll be monitoring how I feel early and run accordingly.” Lisa said.
Houston gets underway at 11.45pm AEST tonight.
Live race updates will be posted to the Emageo Group Twitter account throughout the race.