MANCHESTER, England — Will Amy-Eloise (Neale) Markovc be going to the Olympics, or will she be left with heartbreak?
The Glacier Peak High School graduate, who competes in distance running for Great Britain, earned the silver medal in the women’s 5,000 meters Sunday at the 2021 British Athletics Championships.
The top two finishers in each event earned automatic berths to the Olympics. However, athletes must also have met the Olympic qualifying standard at some point this season, which in the women’s 5,000 is 15 minutes, 10 seconds. Markovc thought she’d achieved that standard in May when she ran 15:05.96 in Boston. However, that time was apparently later deemed to have been achieved on an irregular track because it did not have a rail on the inside edge.
Markovc, who is the European indoor champion in the 3,000, came agonizingly close to breaking 15:10 Sunday, but finished just short at 15:10.54.
Markovc, who won 10 individual state titles in track and field and cross country during a storied career at Glacier Peak from 2009-13, ran Sunday’s race as if her time from Boston was not going to be valid, as she set the pace from the front for nearly 12 of the 12 1/2 laps. The rest of the field was happy to let Markovc be the pace-setter, and through 4,000 meters the leaders were well short of Olympic qualifying pace.
The pace picked up over the final 1,000 meters, with Jessica Judd moving to the front on the final lap. Markovc was able to stay close to Judd, but was unable to regain the lead as she finished 0.52 seconds behind.
Great Britain will have three representatives in the women’s 5,000 at the Olympics, which begin July 23 in Tokyo. Depending on a definitive ruling on Markovc’s Boston time, Britain will select either one or two other competitors at a later date to join Judd, who does have a qualifying time. Four British women other than Markovc and Judd have achieved the Olympic qualifying standard.