On a particularly good day for marathoning, Stuart Weir had much to wite about. Mo Farah had an off day, still running 2:05, but Charlotte Purdue and Callum Hawkins had fantastic days. Stuart, who covers athletics for RunBlogRun, wrote over 150 pieces for us in 2018. This is his first of 3 pieces on London today!
British Marathon racing is alive and well. That is the conclusion from the 39th London Marathon. While most of the British attention was on Mo Farah – or Sir Mo as he was being called – there were other excellent performances to note.
While fifth for Farah may seem like a disappointment for an athlete so used to winning, it was Farah’s second fastest marathon time. He summed up his race: “I am definitely disappointed with my result, training has gone well. I felt great at the start. My aim was to follow the pacemaker, but after 20 miles when he dropped out, the gap opened up and it became hard to close. Congratulations to Eliud; the better man won today. He is a very special athlete and he is humble. If Eliud can run those sort of times it just gives us another level of possibility. It’s a different mindset chasing someone and it takes the pressure off me.”
Callum Hawkins, who collapsed when winning the Commonwealth Games marathon in Australia in April 2018, was 10th in the men’s race in 2:08:14 taking over 2 minutes off his PR. Having achieved the qualifying standard for the 2019 World Championships, he commented: “It’s a good stepping stone for whatever I choose towards the end of the year. Hopefully, it is the Worlds and hopefully I will be pushing a medal.”
Dewi Griffiths, the third Briton with 2:11:46 in only his second ever marathon, also achieved the qualifying standard for Doha.
Charlotte Purdue was 10th in the women’s race, a position which constitutes achieving the qualifying standard for the 2019 World Championships. Purdue, 18th at the 15 kilometre mark, finished strongly with a huge personal best (by almost four minutes) of 2:25:38, which put her third on the all-time UK list, behind Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi. Purdue added: “My training run is to run up to Windsor Castle, touch the gate and then turn back. I do wonder if the Queen ever sees me.”
Trish Jones, sixteenth in 2:31:00, also achieved the World Championship qualifying standard. Jones needed a PR of more than two seconds to run the exact standard required.
Purdue, said: “I am really happy to get into the top ten in a massive PB, I couldn’t have asked for a better run really. I can’t believe it [third UK all-tine]. [Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi] are two absolute legends who I admire so much. I always said I wanted to do Doha, I think it will be good preparation for Tokyo [2020 Olympics]. I know a lot of people are put off because of the heat but it is going to be hot in Tokyo.”
Derek Rae finished second in the T45/46 marathon and David Weir – competing in his 20th London Marathon – was fifth in the T54 marathon, leading the British names in that contest, while Charlotte Ellis and guide Lucy Niemz were eighth in the women’s T12 race.