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George Schwiening to fulfil Commonwealth Games dream in marathon with England

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George Schwiening has described being “over the moon” at being named in the Team England squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The 27-year-old Cambridge Runners athlete will compete in the marathon in Birmingham this summer, having battled the temptation to dream big.

Schwiening clocked a near four-second personal best of 2hr 31min 25sec at the Manchester Marathon in April to finish third, and ultimately book a place in the England squad.

“I’m just absolutely over the moon, really happy,” she said.

“It’s pretty much a dream come true. At the start of the year I didn’t really expect I would be able to get fit in time for the trials race at the beginning of April, but everything came together so I’m really pleased.”

It had not been an outright target though, with the first aim to put in place the foundation that would make selection possible,

“The thing that is in your control is the time that you run, and then whether you get selected it’s not completely out of your control as your time feeds into whether you’re selected or not – but I was more focused on running a PB and if that then led to being selected for something it’s a fantastic bonus on top of a personal best,” explained Schwiening.

“I wanted to finish the race feeling positive and for me that was running a good time, and anything else that came after that was a bonus.

“It was in the back of my mind, but with endurance running, and injury, it’s not really ever a given so it’s difficult to allow yourself to dream because it’s painful then if you don’t reach that goal.

“For me, it was more ‘wow, wouldn’t that be amazing’, but just focusing more on day-to-day training and not get too hung up on something. It was more likely that I wouldn’t be selected than I would be selected, so it was just trying to be realistic. “

George Schwiening has been named in the England marathon squad for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Picture: Therme Manchester Marathon 2022 (56541363)
George Schwiening has been named in the England marathon squad for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Picture: Therme Manchester Marathon 2022 (56541363)

Schwiening’s background is in duathlon. Having first taken up triathlon at primary school aged 11, the swimming leg was not her strongest so she instead started doing more duathlon.

She represented Great Britain at the European Duathlon Championships in Limerick in 2011, and went on to win a bronze medal at the World Duathlon Championships in the senior competition in Denmark in 2018.

But the pandemic meant Schwiening altered her attentions slightly.

“I’ve done cycling and running separately, and then the two together with the duathlon,” she said.

“With duathlon in recent years, because of Covid, travelling for everyone became quite difficult and most of the duathlon scene is not in the UK.

“I didn’t really want to engage in the stress of attempting to travel with all that uncertainty so in recent years focusing on the marathon has actually worked out quite well because I haven’t had to travel for that. I haven’t stopped duathlon, it is just on pause.”

The women’s marathon at the Commonwealth Games is on July 30, and is a two-lap 18km course, with a 6km spur to finish in Victoria Square in Birmingham.

Schwiening added: “It is a privilege to be part of the Games and I’m still pinching myself to check that it’s real. I can’t wait to be on the start line and soak up the atmosphere of a home Games.”

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