Getting out of bed in the wee small hours of tomorrow will not faze Steph Twell one bit.

Christmas come early, she enthuses. The London Marathon, revamped for the age of coronavirus, provides ample incentive for the 31-year-old to awake with a spring already in her step.

Tomorrow will be her first outing at the distance since usurping Liz McColgan’s long-standing Scottish record in Frankfurt 12 months ago to put herself in prime position for a third Olympic appearance.

The crowds deafened then as the finish approached. This time, she can expect only piped music to trouble the ears, London becoming an elite-only, fan-free, event for its 40th edition with the course hemmed inside St James Park and competitors compelled to quarantine inside a bio-secure bubble all this week.

With the women’s race off at dawn, it will be a highly unique day from the off, Twell admits. “I’m going to have to set more than one alarm,” she said. “With the race starting at 7.15, we’ll have to leave very early because we’re staying out of the city. It’s going to be a very short night’s sleep, getting up around 4 in the morning. 

“I’m probably going to take my breakfast closer to the race so I’ve still got that fuel in me to get to the finish line. But we’ve been well-equipped here with the socially-distant aspect. We’ve been given a brilliant protocol to look out for each other because we don’t want to waste this opportunity.”

With most of the world’s mass participation races cancelled due to Covid, there will be close study of London’s endeavours as intelligence is gathered on rebuilding a now decimated circuit.

It feels like a welcome breakthrough, declares Twell, after surviving the minor traumas of managing injuries this year without the usual comfort blanket of ready access to physios and medics. What is expected to be a rapid course offers her a shot at both improving on her personal best of 2:26:40 and also strengthening her case for selection for Tokyo.

“I’ve waited for this race since April,” acknowledged the European and Commonwealth medallist. “I was so disheartened when it had to be postponed. But I was ready to go.  I’ve invested a lot in this year. So there will be an element of relief that things are getting back to normal. 

“Hopefully, this race is a pivot point for lots of races across Britain and beyond to hold an event of this nature. I’m going to enjoy it. I’ll have a smile on the start line and, hopefully, have that smile at the finish line too.”

Kenya’s reigning champion and men’s world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia’s four-time Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele head the men’s field with Mo Farah acting as one of the pacemakers.

Devoid of such stimulation for so long, those invited are amped up to the max despite the oddity of what will be on show. It may be foremost a televised spectacle, a jazzed up time trial. But the competitive spirit is arisen.

“This is an opportunity is room to grow and collect experience,” Twell underlines. “It’s my first female-only race. This is still the British Championships which is really important to me. And times also do count.”