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It's Marathon Project Week at The XC. Be sure to follow all of our special coverage of Sunday's big race in Arizona, which will feature some of  North America's best marathoners, including those attempting to qualify for next summer's Olympic Games. We'll be releasing daily podcasts featuring interviews with athletes competing in The Marathon Project, plus we'll be doing an instant reactions podcast immediately following the race. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for in-depth coverage delivered right to your inbox, and our Sunday Long Read.

This week, we interview runners who are gearing up for The Marathon Project, a race in Chandler, Arizona that doubles as an qualifier for the 2021 Olympic Games. It's probably going to be the fastest North American marathon of 2020, and it happens on Sunday, Dec. 20.

Our guest today is Ben Preisner, a recent NCAA alumnus turned elite half-marathoner. The 24-year-old started hitting his stride right around the time that the world shut down. A 63:08 half-marathon in the fall of 2019 got him a spot at the 2020 London Marathon, but when the race was postponed, he decided to test his fitness the old fashion way - with a time trial. His solo 2:15:24 marathon debut turned many heads, and this weekend, he finally gets to test his fitness in an official setting. But Preisner said he wouldn't be happy with another 2:15 - he is aiming to dip under the Olympic standard of 2:11:30. Here we talk about how the young Canadian has been preparing for the race of his life.

We hope you enjoy the conversation. Be sure to catch our Marathon Project coverage throughout the week. We will have a few more runners on to chat prior to the race, and we are preparing a live viewing experience of the race itself on Sunday, Dec 20.

Subscribe to The XC Podcast here for more on The Marathon Project all this week:

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