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Gregson's marathon effort to run at Paris Olympics

A marathon in Spain will serve as an Olympic selection shootout for a host of Australian women, including three-time track Olympian Genevieve Gregson.

Marathon novice Genevieve Gregson thinks her limited exposure to the distance is her greatest weapon ahead of a race in Spain carrying huge Paris Olympics ramifications.

Sunday's (AEDT) Valencia marathon will be the three-time track Olympian's second, Gregson clocking 2 hours 28 minutes 32 seconds on the Gold Coast in a July debut.

That came about a year after son Archer was born, which followed the heartbreak of a ruptured Achilles on the final water jump of the 3000m steeplechase final at Tokyo's 2021 Games.

The magic number for Paris auto-qualification - 2:26:50 - is within Gregson's reach in what's traditionally a fast race.

But there's no guarantee of a Paris ticket even if she does go under that mark.

Sinead Diver, 10th in Tokyo, broke the Australian record in Valencia last year and has run inside the qualifying time.

So too four-time Olympian Lisa Weightman, who will be on the start line in Valencia.

Ellie Pashley is another contender not racing in Spain while Commonwealth Games champion Jess Stenson could still make a late Paris bid after having her second child in September.

Fellow track converts Eloise Wellings and Izzi Batt-Doyle will line up in Valencia with Gregson, knowing there is realistically just one more spot up for grabs. 

"It would be rally hard for them to not be there," Gregson told APP of Diver and Weightman.

"So all of us there are gunning for the last spot.

"Eloise was at my wedding, it's crazy ... you wish we weren't all so close because it would make it easier.

"Road running in Australia is incredible right now. If I waited any longer I might have missed the wave I'm amongst now.

"The upside for me is that I'm the newest to the event and my first one was a great success.

"I'm the one with the most unknown but we don't really know what my next step is. Do I cut three minutes off, or not really improve at all?"

Genevieve Gregson has husband Ryan and son Archer watching her train for the Paris Olympics.

Husband Ryan, a former 1500m specialist, has also transitioned and had planned to pace Gregson in Spain but wasn't able to back up from his own marathon debut in October.

Son Archer is now often a keen observer of training, the pair able to be slightly more flexible with their schedules compared to their days on the track.

Gregson felt she hadn't reached her steeplechase ceiling but said the injury in Toyko had allowed her to "have her cake and eat it too".

"The Achilles, it gave me no option," she said.

"Making Paris now has a whole different meaning.

"It wouldn't be about 'making four Olympics'.

"It's about looking back to how broken hearted I was at Tokyo and thinking it was the end of the road.

"To turn it around in three years ... it'd be cool to tell that story."


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