MARATHON marvel Steve Way insists the world’s glare will have nothing on the real pressure of his Commonwealth Games odyssey – performing for his army of family and friends.
Bournemouth AC’s distance runner tomorrow takes the biggest stride on his remarkable journey from a 16-stone couch potato who smoked 20 cigarettes a day to carrying England’s hopes in the 26-mile race in Glasgow (9am).
The 40-year-old quali fied for the event having finished as the third-fastest English competitor at the London Marathon in April behind Olympic champion Mo Farah and Chris Thompson, setting a personal best of 2:16:27 – 33 seconds faster than the qualifying standard.
And as Way prepares to line up alongside team-mates Ben Moreau and Nicholas Torry, the Barclays worker says his butterflies are over the sense of anticipation rather than expectation.
Way told the Daily Echo: “The whole thing hadn’t really sunk in but when we flew up to Glasgow on Tuesday, it all became very real and everything started to hit home.
“But being here hasn’t put on any pressure, I haven’t felt it any more than in the build up to any other key race. I had a similar feeling before the London Marathon.
“I do start to get nervous at this stage because you put all your eggs in one basket with distance running. You train for months on end and get one day to try and execute your plan, it’s not like you can come back next week and have another pop at it.
“I am perhaps putting a bit of extra pressure on myself because I don’t want to disappoint my family, friends and supporters from the local running community.
“A lot of people from my real world are getting very excited. The support I am getting is absolutely overwhelming and it does act as a great motivator to give it everything I have got and whatever else I haven’t got, so it’s probably no bad thing.”
Way declared himself happy with his fitness and form ahead of the main event having ran more than 100 miles during last week’s build-up, which included a spell in England’s holding camp in Manchester.
With those meticulous preparations going to plan, Way is targeting a new personal best on one of world athletics biggest stages and harbours hopes of a place in the top 10.
Way added: “I found an unofficial start list with about 30 names on it and through a spot of my own internet research, I was ranked 16th in terms of personal best times.
“At the very top, there are a couple of Kenyans who are 10 minutes faster than me on paper so it would be suicide to think I can race against them. If they have a good day, there’s nothing I can do about it.
“The dream scenario would be a top-10 finish and a personal best time. If that happened I would be wearing the biggest smile in Glasgow. I’m feeling happy, prepared and as fit as I was at London, though it is difficult to tell until you get out there.”