British Olympic Marathon Trials – Race Preview

Trackstaa looks ahead to the British Olympic marathon trials in Kew Gardens with Ben Connor and Steph Davies going in as favourites for the men’s and women’s race respectively.

How to qualify

For any British athlete hoping to get onto the plane to Tokyo to compete in this year’s Olympic Marathon they have to meet 2 criteria.

· Finish in the top-2 on the day,

· Run a certified marathon time inside the Olympic qualifying time at any point from January 2019 onwards.

For the men, the qualifying standard is: 2:11:30 and for the women, 2:29:30.

Who’s competing

For the men, it’s a competitive field. With Sir Mo Farah turning his attention back to the track and Scotland’s Callum Hawkins who finished 4th at the World Championships in Doha in 2019 (2:10:57) already selected. Instead, Callum Hawkins, along with Jake Smith, leading British Athlete in the 2020 World Half Marathon Championships, will be on pacing duties.

The fastest British athlete at last year’s London Marathon, Jonny Mellor will also miss out thanks to injury and so the favourite is likely to be Ben Connor who having already run the necessary Olympic qualifying time can focus solely on just winning the race. However, his competitors are not likely to make it easy. The Welshman Dewi Griffiths goes into the race with the quickest time (2:09:49) even if that was achieved nearly 4 years ago in the 2017 Frankfurt Marathon.

In the women’s race, Steph Davies is the only competitor to have already secured the necessary time with an impressive 2:27:40 in Valencia in 2019. With Charlotte Purdue, Steph Twell and Jess Piasecki all missing, Davies is likely to receive the firmest competition from last year’s top-finishing Brit at the London Marathon, Natasha Cockram. Lily Partride will also be competing and she’s run 2:28:24 as recently as 2018. The wildcard goes to Sarah Inglis who might just be coming into form after running a 2:29:41 in Arizona in December.

Other interesting racers, include Team Project Run Coach, Ultrarunner and former British Army Officer, Tom Evans who told Athletics Weekly, “I feel like I’ve proved myself at the shorter distance of 5km running…racing for GB at the European Cross Country Championships and also at 100km distances, so for me the marathon is the missing piece in the puzzle. I think anything is possible.” Despite having a marathon PB of 2:26:04, he doesn’t see himself as the underdog, “you can very easily scroll through marathon PBs and think this guy is 10 minutes slower than the next male…Would I say that I was the underdog? No. But I have a very different background that’s never really been done before I guess.”

In the women’s race, former Trackstaa podcast guest Becky Briggs makes her competitive marathon debut after a brilliant breakthrough year last year and she’s undoubtedly one to watch.

The course

Former 10,000m world record holder, Dave Bedford, ran about 25 different routes at Kew Gardens in south-west in order to find the best route possible and is now convinced that the route selected is as fast as anything in world road racing, including Vienna where Eliud Kipchoge ran his famous sub-2 hour marathon.

The course includes one short lap of roughly 1600 metres and 12 laps of exactly 3333.3 metres. The loop includes a single straight of roughly 1400 metres long (with the wind expected to be at their backs) and this is why it promises to be a fast course.

How to watch

For viewers in the UK you can watch it live on the BBC Sport website and the BBC iPlayer.

When is it on?

The marathon starts at 8am (if you’re particularly keen, you can watch the racewalkers stroll off at 6am),

Where is it?

Although there are no spectators permitted, the race takes place in Kew Gardens, London.

Full entry List

Men’s

Ben Connor – 2:11:20

Frank Baddick – Debut

Tom Evans – 2:26:07

Adam Hickey – 2:16.56

Nigel Martin – Debut

Mo Aadan – Debut

Matt Clowes – 2:13:57

Andrew Davies – 2:14:38

Dewi Griffiths – 2:09:49

Josh Griffiths – 2:13:11

Ian Leitch – 2:18:33

Josh Lunn – 2:17:59

Robbie Simpson – 2:14:56

Chris Thompson – 2:11:19

Nick Torry – 2:15:04

Paul Martelletti – 2:16:49

Paul Navesey – 2:17:16

Women’s

Steph Davies – 2:27:40

Lily Partridge – 2:29:24

Sarah Inglis – 2:29:41

Tracy Barlow – 2:30:42

Natasha Cockram – 2:30:49

Tish Jones – 2:31:00

Naomi Mitchell – 2:33:23

Rebecca Gentry – 2:37:01

Claire Grima – 2:40:38

Rosie Edwards – 2:40:49

Samantha Harrison – 2:51:33

Charlotte Taylor-Green – 2:36:54

Johanna O’Regan – 2:41:31

Clara Evans – 2:46:03

Chartotte Arter – Debut

Becky Briggs – Debut

Annabel Gummow – Debut

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