21st April 2018


Great Britain’s Derek Rae (coach: Ron Morrison) is hoping that all the hard work he has put over the last 12 months will steer him to victory in Sunday’s World Para Athletics Marathon Cup.

The bronze medallist from 2017 will lead the way for Great Britain & Nothern Ireland in the Para Athletics Marathon Cup, staged as part of the Virgin Money London Marathon, looking to lower his personal best time even further from the 2:33:24 hours he clocked last year.

The Scot, competing in the T45/46 race for athletes with upper and lower arm impairments, will be joined in the British vest by T11 athlete Chris Goodwin (Nick Anderson), who will be making his London Marathon debut, and T52 athlete Rob Smith (Job King).

Ahead of the race, Rae said: “I’m feeling good, preparations went really well this year, I had a good training camp and build-up and I’m ready for the race on Sunday.

“I’m getting stronger each year and in a marathon that’s really important. The mental side of it is huge, you can’t really prepare for that.

“I went to Kenya for the second time this year and it helped knowing what I was going to. Last time was my first year and it was a new experience and I really enjoyed it this year.

“I’d like to thank British Athletics and the London Marathon in allowing me to go and helping me to get to Kenya. The base that I built there will help me towards the latter stages of the marathon this year.

“I was able to share a lot of my experiences with Aly Dixon and Rosie Clarke. Aly is a very experienced marathon runner and I was tapping into her knowledge quite often but it was a really good team vibe around the camp.”

Running the London Marathon once again is something that Rae is relishing and is hoping to be able to improve on his bronze from last year and to once again represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland is a huge honour for him.

“Representing your nation is always an honour and I get to do that at the London Marathon, what makes it special for me is from start to finish, the wall of noise that you get,” he added.

“The support is phenomenal. It really makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. When you cross Tower Bridge and look at all the famous landmarks, it certainly makes it all worthwhile.

“I’ll stand on that start line and I’ll try my hardest to run the best I can possibly run and I’ll see where that takes me.

“This year, I’m going to let the other runners worry about me rather than worry about them. I can only affect my performance and my race and if I do that, the rest will fall into place.”

David Weir (Jenny Archer) is bidding to defend his London Marathon T53/54 title this weekend as he goes for an eighth crown in the capital.

A stacked men’s elite wheelchair field will see Weir go head to head with double London winner and Boston champion from Monday, Marcel Hug (Switzerland) as well as 10-time victor from Boston, Ernst van Dyk (South Africa).

JohnBoy Smith (Archer) and Simon Lawson (Ian Thompson), fresh from winning Commonwealth Games silver and bronze respectively in the marathon on the Gold Coast, provide further British representation in the field.

Weir is excited to be racing once again on home soil and feels in good shape for Sunday’s race.

He said: “I love turning up and racing, this is my home city and I just love racing on the streets of London. I’ll have family coming to watch and I’ll also have a few thousand on the streets cheering me on.

“My training and the races I’ve done have been very good. Having some time out has done me a lot of good, I feel mentally and physically a lot fresher than I did after Rio and I’m enjoying training and racing again which I wasn’t for the last few years, but I’m enjoying getting up and going to training.”

The elite women’s race will see Jade Jones-Hall (Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson), fresh from her own bronze medal in the marathon as well as paratriathlon gold on the Gold Coast, as the sole British athlete in the field.

She will be up against the likes of Manuela Schar (Switzerland), who set a new course record 12 months ago of 1:39:57 hours, and Boston champion Tatyana McFadden (USA) in a 15-strong field.

Jones-Hall is aiming to become the first British athlete to win the women’s race since 2012, when Shelly Woods took her second title, and hopes to follow up her Commonwealth bronze with a marathon medal.

She said: “My main focus going to the Commonwealth Games was the triathlon but my marathon preparation has been going well, I recorded a new personal best over the weekend and I’m going strong.

“The triathlon training appears to be benefitting my marathon training but the bike has been like cross training and I’m enjoying the variation.

“I’ve had problems at London before, I have a serious love-hate relationship with it. I had a flat tyre, then I had back problems but I managed to finish last year which was a huge bonus.”