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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.

Vancouver track runner Justin Kent is one of those relentlessly positive people who found a way to see the Pandemic as an opportunity to reinvent himself.

With track races shut down for the season, Kent decided to try a half-marathon, so he jumped into a local time trial, and ran so fast that he qualified for the Canadian national team for the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships. And when Canada pulled its team on the eve of the race due to concerns over health safety, Kent hit Vancouver's iconic Seawall and ran 62 minutes for 21.1K (raising funds for charity along the way). That's when he and his coach started thinking about the marathon — and about the 2021 Olympics.

Kent chats with host Michael Doyle about what he anticipates from his first-ever marathon, which will be one of the strangest debut experiences a runner could ever imagine. Kent will be running the elite-only Marathon Project race in Arizona, with some of the best runners on the continent, including three other Canadians who want that last national team spot. He also talks about what he's learned as a coach with Mile2Marathon in Burnaby, B.C., and which shoes he's going with on race day.

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

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