Sifan Hassan ran the full gamut of pre-marathon emotions as she looked ahead to her 26.2-mile debut in London on Sunday.
The marathon distance is the great leveller, and the double world and Olympic champion seemed well aware of just how different the challenge will be in contrast with her success on the 400m oval.
“I’m already nervous, but at the same time very curious. Sometimes I wake up and wonder why the hell I decided to run the marathon!”
In one sound bite, the Ethiopian-born Dutch athlete had neatly captured the inner demons that will have been experienced at some point in the last few months by almost all of the 40,000-plus runners ready to toe the start line on Sunday.
The weather forecast – currently predicting a dry, cool morning – will play its part in what may transpire amongst this highly talented group of female athletes.
Hassan was sharing the media conference stage with defending champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw, world record-holder Brigid Kosgei and Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir. Between them they have six AbbottWMM race wins, so there is no doubt the newcomer has thrust herself right into the white heat of women’s marathon running for her first attempt.
"Really I don't have any goal for time," she said. "I can't really tell (how fast I will run); I don't know the journey."
Jepchirchir, the 2022 Boston champion, may be the one to beat after Kosgei revealed she has been struggling with a hamstring issue in recent weeks. She was in confident mood about what might be possible if the conditions permit.
“This is my dream race,” said Jepchirchir. “The field is strong, I think if weather is fine on Sunday, the event record might go. I know when the competition is higher, I will be good.”
Separately, race organizers announced that Eilish McColgan had withdrawn from Sunday's race with an injury. The 32 year-old Scot, picked up a knee issue in recent days which has not responded to treatment," organizers said.
"Unfortunately, my knee hasn't improved as much as I wanted it to," McColgan said in a statement. "I was hopeful I could participate after some knee bursitis I had in February. I could run through that and I have tried to run through this, but it has got to the point where it isn't feasible to run a marathon."