Keith and District AAC runner Frankie Barton will rest his hopes of qualifying for London 2012 on next month's Lochaber marathon. Despite never tackling a marathon before, Frankie, 56, is confident he can record a strong enough performance in Fort William to ensure he represents St. Kitts and Nevis at the Olympics.
After initially contacting the selection committee about the possibility of running a 10k in London, the care worker was informed the qualifying standard stood at 27:00. Although boasting a 10k PB of just under 31 minutes, Frankie felt the marathon time - which stands at 2:18 - was a more realistic goal.
Speaking to scottishrunningguide.com, Frankie said he has tailored his training to prepare for Lochaber: "When the guys from Keith & District first took me out for a 10 mile run I nearly died. Over the last few months though, I have managed to hit 20 miles plus and recorded a comfortable half marathon time of 1:15:21."
This isn't the first time circumstance has resulted in Frankie altering his training programme. After arriving in Moray in 1990 as a 400m and 800m athlete, Frankie decided to make the transition to longer distances as there were no track facilities to properly train. While this proved to be an inconvenience at first, he acclimatised quickly, thanks in no small part, he admits, to Moray's beautiful countryside.
Even though he concedes the 2:18 qualifying time is unattainable at this point, Frankie feels Olympic selection would allow him to concentrate on an intensive four months of marathon training: "While I usually take part in almost all of the 10k and cross-country events, it is now about stamina and endurance training. Lochaber will be the first step in achieving a 2:20 target, and hopefully it is enough to take me to the Olympics."