GB Marathon team, some deep thoughts

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The 2021 Muller British Olympic marathon Trials begins, photo by Getty Images / British Athletics

Stuart Weir did this piece on the 2021 GB marathon team.

GB Marathon team

Following the GB Marathon Trials last weekend, the British Marathon team for the Olympics has been chosen. The men's team was straight-forward:

Callum Hawkins had been pre-selected on the basis of his fourth-place finish in the 2019 World Champs.

Chris Thompson and Ben Connor gained places by finishing first and second in the trials.

As far as the women were concerned, there were decisions to be made by the selectors. Only Steph Davis, the winner of the trials, who had achieved the Olympic standard twice, was an automatic selection. Second and third in the trials were Natasha Cockram (2:30.03) and Rosie Edwards (2:31.56), neither of whom had the qualifying standard. Waiting in the wings were four women who had already run under the 2:29:30 requirement - Jess Piasecki (PR 2:25:28), Lily Partridge (2:29:24), Charlotte Purdue (PR 2:25:38), and Steph Twell (2:26:40).

Piasecki secured her time when winning in Florence in November 2019. Purdue's best came to London in April 2019. Twell's was in Frankfurt in October 2019. Together they rank respectively third, fourth, and sixth on the UK all-time rankings.

In terms of form, Piasecki had not raced since 2019. Purdue only raced once in 2020 and hasn't competed this year after being a last-minute withdrawal from the trials.

Twell , however, raced three times last year and once this year, although this included not finishing in the London Marathon last October.

Any decision was going to be controversial with it possible to make a strong case for three of the four athletes. The selectors opted to pick Jess Piasecki and Steph Twell and to disappoint Charlie Purdue and Lily Partridge.

Many people will be pleased to see StephTwell given the opportunity of a third Olympics as she had suffered such a horrific ankle injury 10 years ago that there was real doubt that she would ever race seriously again. Twell made her debut in the 1500m in 2008 aged 19.

While they have been selected for the British team for Tokyo, Scottish Athletics was quick to point out that three Scottish athletes had been selected, Hawkins, Davis and Twell.

The three women are 30-31. Chris Thompson 39 and the men 28.

The full selection (with their coaches and clubs):

Stephanie Davis (30) (Phillip Kissi; Clapham Chasers)

Jess Piasecki (30) (Robert Hawkins; Stockport)

Steph Twell (31) (Aldershot Farnham & District)

Ben Connor (28) (Derby)

Callum Hawkins (28) (Robert Hawkins; Kilbarchan)

Chris Thompson (39) (Alan Storey; Aldershot Farnham & District)

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