This Sunday’s (April 23) Virgin Money London marathon – the 37th edition of the race – will see some of the best athletes in the world test themselves over 26.2 miles on the streets of the English capital as they bid to claim victory at the prestigious event.
While each of the disability races will also form part of the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup (the preview for which will follow later today), the elite able-bodied races for both men and women will also serve as the official British Athletics trials ahead of the IAAF World Championships London 2017, while the opportunity to be crowned British champion over the distance is also in the offering, meaning there is plenty up for stake.
In the women’s race, and on only her third attempt at the distance in a career that has spanned over 20 years, 2014 European 10,000m champion and five-time track Olympian Jo Pavey (Gavin Pavey) will look to go inside the stipulated qualifying time - 2:36:00 for women and 2:16:00 for men - with athletes needing run inside their qualifying time and be in the top two British finishers for world championships selection.
In a stacked international field which includes the second fastest female marathon runner ever, Mary Jepkosgei Keitany, British competition to Pavey comes from Charlotte Purdue (Nic Bideau), a 2:30:04 marathoner in Frankfurt last year, and Aly Dixon, a 28th place finisher in the marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Also in contention are Leeds City’s Susan Partridge (Steve Jones), who aims to make her third World Championships, and experienced marathoner Tracy Barlow (Nick Anderson), a 2:32.05 finisher in Frankfurt last autumn.
In the men’s field, Callum Hawkins’ absence following pre-selection for the British Athletics world championships team on the back of his ninth place finish at the Olympic Games leaves the door for team spots and national titles open for the likes of 2010 European 10,000m silver medallist Chris Thompson (Mark Rowland), Olympians Tsegai Tewelde (John MacKay) and Scott Overall, and Merseyside’s Jonny Mellor, among others.
The elite able-bodied fields can be found here for men and here for women.
The selection policy for the marathon at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 can be found via: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/world-class/2017-selection-policies/
Live updates will be posted on the British Athletics Twitter, with action reports following shortly after the event.