Scottish marathoner says her tenth place at the World Championships has made her re-evaluate her target ahead of the Commonwealth Games
Marathoner Susan Partridge has admitted how her tenth-place finish at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow has caused her to reconsider her target ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Scot ran a strong and sensible race in high temperatures and stifling humidity in the Russian capital on the first day of World Champs action just over a week ago and says she surprised even herself with the result.
“I guess I thought top 20 would be good going into the championships so top ten I’m over the moon with,” Partridge told AW.
Although such hot conditions wouldn’t always be expected to give an advantage to a Scot over the likes of the Ethiopians, Partridge believes that the heat might actually been beneficial to her, rather than a hindrance.
“It wasn’t the hardest marathon I’ve ever done,” she said. “The way I ran the race, I ran knowing there would be a lot of casualties because of the heat and that a lot of people would come back to me and drop out.
“The main goal was to be able to run strongly for the whole race,” she added. “I didn’t take any risks, I knew it was all about patience. Maybe actually having conditions like that was beneficial for me because I was more experienced at dealing with them that some other athletes.”
Using her experience of running in even hotter conditions at the European Championships in Barcelona three years ago and the World Championships in Daegu in 2010, where she finished 24th in what was her first World Champs outing, Partridge made sure she paced herself enough to enable her to pick off more than half the runners who were ahead of her at the halfway mark.
“I am quite happy with how I ran the race,” she said. “I have tried running races differently recently, when I ran in London in April (where she set a 2:30:46 PB for ninth) I pushed out hard right from the start to go at a really fast pace and that paid off for me as well. That was my opportunity to push boundaries and see what I could do and run a bit harder.
“In the World Championships I wanted a good performance and I wanted to perform well for my country,” she added. “Under those conditions I didn’t think it was the time to be trying things out and be taking risks. I did finish quite strong and there is a possibility that maybe that I could have had another couple of places and that would have been better but I don’t know that. I don’t know that the extra one second a mile wouldn’t have pushed me over the edge.”
Partridge joined forces with former men’s world record-holder and current UK record-holder for 26.2 miles Steve Jones earlier this year and although admits her progression this year could be seen as having come from a change in coach, the 33-year-old is adamant the results were always going to come, but that joining Jones has been more the ‘icing on the cake’.
“I think people want me to say that it was just that one thing (joining Jones) – that’s been the change and that’s made everything wonderful – but actually I was with my old coach John Montgomery for a very long time, from 1997 though to this year. So we did build up a good relationship, he’s a good coach and the coaching hasn’t changed drastically.
“Part of the reason I got on so well with Steve was that his coaching philosophy is very similar to what I was doing before anyway and that was working for me. John has brought be through from a young athlete and made me an international runner, I owe that to John.
“The reason I changed, I think Steve has helped me mentally, it’s more the icing on the cake. He helps me with attitude to racing, to being a little bit more aggressive, it’s almost the psychological side of things that Steve has helped me with. He’s taken the athlete that I am and shown me how to use my ability in races.
“Making that change has helped me to have the success I’ve had in the last six months but I actually think the progression was there anyway,” Partridge added. “It wasn’t a case of things weren’t right before and we changed them and now they’re right and everything is going well, I think I was going to make the progression anyway.”
With a strong championship performance and the qualifying mark for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games now under her belt, Partridge admits the pressure is off, for now, but having crossed the line as the second Commonwealth athlete in Moscow it has given her cause for thought ahead of her next big target on home soil.
“Glasgow is a big one with it being a home race,” she said. “It has been a goal for a few years, that’s what I’ve been thinking of.
“My target was that I wanted to be on the podium in Glasgow, so to then be tenth in the world and the second Commonwealth athlete in Moscow, it’s a reassurance that I have a realistic target for the Games and that maybe my target should be to win, not just to podium.
“Assuming I get selected for the Commonwealth Games, I won’t run another marathon until Glasgow which is a kind of a weird feeling to think the next time I will run one will be at the Games!”
» Susan Partridge is a PUMA athlete and was the leading Brit at the IAAF World Championships marathon earlier this month. Susan races in the lightweight Faas 300 available at www.ProDirectRunning.com. For information of the PUMA Faas range head to puma.com/running.