TORONTO — Forty-six hours after Lanni Marchant won Saturday's Canadian 10K championships, she ran a gruelling 30-kilometre time trial up and down the Ottawa River pathway.
Her pace runner dropped out at the eight-kilometre mark, leaving Marchant to cover the final 22 kilometres alone in 27 C heat.
The run was a simulation, which she said was suggested by Athletics Canada, to prove she could race both the 10,000 metres and marathon at the Rio Olympics. The events are 46 hours apart.
When Athletics Canada met this week to determine the marathon squad for Rio, Marchant — the Canadian record-holder in the women's event — wasn't on the list. Instead, Marchant said, head coach Peter Eriksson told her the 10,000 metres would be her focus in Rio.
"I've shown proof of fitness, I'm the fastest qualifier and now I've done this simulation that wasn't my idea," Marchant said Friday. "I don't understand.
"I've been very clear the 10,000 is my focus, I'd like to double, and the whole purpose of the simulation was to show that doubling was doable."
Marchant said she wasn't given a firm no, which means she can't appeal the decision. But she also wasn't given the green light to compete in both the 10,000 and the marathon, a feat rarely attempted by Olympic athletes.
Eriksson disputes Marchant's claim, saying that Athletics Canada didn't require her to run the 30-kilometre time trial, and that the door is still open for her to run the marathon and the 10,000 in Rio.
"Nobody required her to do the test that she's talking about, that's incorrect," Eriksson said in an interview. "The other thing is that her aim has always been the 10,000 and she made that very clear to us. So therefore we're selecting her based on that. The next step you say: are we selecting her for the marathon? Nobody has ever said she's not going to be selected (for the marathon)."
Asked if there is a chance she'll still get named to the marathon on July 11, Eriksson said: "Absolutely."
Marchant said in her conversation with Eriksson, the coach distanced himself from Monday's simulation.
"Not that he made any express promises, but he definitely made statements to allude to the fact that if I did the simulation, and I dotted my i's and crossed my t's, it would be an opportunity for me to double," she said.
"He'd said if he was in town he would come and watch on his bicycle. And now he's saying that was just to watch, it wasn't anything to do with agreeing that would mean anything."
Canada's full track and field team for Rio will be announced on July 11, after the national championships, which don't include the marathon. Meanwhile, Marchant says she remains in limbo.
"It wasn't affecting my training to train for both. It will affect my training if I don't know if I'm training for both," Marchant said. "It's just the mental prep. And there are long runs I would do or wouldn't do depending on a yea or nay from AC."
While Canada is allowed three marathon entries in Rio, only Marchant and Krista DuChene have qualified.
The 32-year-old Marchant broke Silvia Ruegger's 28-year-old Canadian marathon record in 2013, when she ran two hours 27 minutes 58 seconds.
Running alone on Monday, she maintained per-kilometre pace of three minutes 38 seconds, which works out to a marathon time of about 2:33.
Marchant won bronze in the 10,000 metres at last summer's Pan Am Games, and was fourth in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. She's also balanced her track career with her other profession as a criminal lawyer. She's working remotely from Vancouver this summer while she prepares for Rio.
"All I'm asking is for (Athletics Canada) to be honest," she said. "At no point have I come out and said I'm seething and scathing and AC is screwing me over."
She said she doesn't view the marathon as "a victory lap."
"I'm doing it because I believe I can do both and do them both well," she said. "I don't want to be named in both if I can't do it, that's the last thing I want. I'm being very calculated and controlled in my decision-making process."