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UK Athletics

WEbb hits marathon a standard

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Dave Webb Lee Merrien


04 September 2011

On the final day of competition at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, attention switched back to the Gukchae-Bosang Memorial park in central Daegu as the men’s marathon was the final road event of the championships to take place.

Members of the Aviva GB & NI team were out in force manning drinks stations for marathon representatives Lee Merrien (John Nuttall) and Dave Webb (Bud Baldaro) as the race started at 9am comprising two large 15km laps finishing with a final lap of 12km.

And the day proved most fruitful for Webb who finished in 15th position, securing the top 20 finish that would count as an Olympic Games A standard, whilst Merrien had a solid performance also finishing strongly in 22nd.

The two Brits were inseparable for the first half of the race as they started steadily and both passed the half marathon marker in 68.45 mins. It was just after the halfway point when Webb pushed on and by 30km had a five second lead over his team-mate as they held 39th and 40th positions respectively.

By 35km, the gap had grown to 35 seconds and as they increased their pace to pick off fading competitors, finishes high up the order were looking likely for both athletes.

Webb finished in 15th in 2:15:48, with Merrien in 22nd in 2:16:59, both men having recorded strong negative splits of 67:03 and 68:14 for their second half efforts.

Webb, who also competed in Barcelona in 2010 where he was the Aviva GB & NI team’s second finisher behind Merrien was delighted with his morning’s work:

“I started fairly steady then at 20-25km thought i would just push on a bit. The plan was to keep like that until 25km-30km, then whatever I had left left in the tank just take it from there. I think I ran quite a big negative split, so that was good as you get the confidence of passing people as well which helps,” he said.

“I felt good in Barcelona last year but suffered with an upset stomach and that really hit me hard in the second half. So today I was thinking that if everything goes smooth - and knowing the training had gone well – hopefully it would come together.

“Being out here in Korea for two weeks already has really helped – I know it’s a bit more overcast today than it has been but I didn’t find it as oppressive as I might have done.

“Finishing top 20 here counts as an A standard for the Olympics, so it would be great if that proves to be enough to get selected, it certainly would be a dream come true.”

Finally he revealed they had a special hand at the drinks station in the shape of a training partner and current World Silver medallist:

“I train with Hannah (England) down at the University and as soon as I arrived here in Daegu she said ‘we’re doing the drinks stations’ so it was nice having a familiar face handing a bottle out! I think she got a few photos for my wife as well – I was under strict instructions to get those!”

Merrien, who finished eighth at last year’s European Championship marathon and had since improved his PB in London this year was disappointed to have missed out on a top 20 finish despite ploughing through the backmarkers in the latter stages like Webb.

He said:

“Dave and I were pretty much together until about 20-25km and then he pushed on a little bit and upped the pace. I was feeling alright and although I sped up Dave sped up more than I did.

“I decided to wait a little bit longer and to see how I felt between 25 and 30km. I was feeling alright  and I  kept an even pace pretty much throughout but I was hoping I would pick up more in the last 10km and come through the field more than I did.

“I don’t know where I finished in the end – probably about mid twenties, but it wasn’t good enough today. Top twenty would have been good on this occasion and anything outside of that was not quite good enough. It wasn’t a bad run – it wasn’t however as good as I wanted it to be. Fair play to Dave though and all credit to him.

“I need to recover from this and see what I need to do ahead of 2012. I need to run a sub 2:12 now. I can do that, but I need to look to see what my options are for another race next spring which is something I wanted to avoid, but I didn’t get the top 20 for an A standard.

“The faces of the team said it all – they knew I’d be disappointed with anything outside the top 20 and they’ve given me that look that says ‘well done’, but no information that raised my hopes any further. At the end of the day I ran solid but didn’t quite raise my game enough – that’s how it roles today unfortunately.”

The race was won by the defending champion Kenya’s Abel Kirui who pushed on from the field at 25km, securing an unassailable lead with a 14:18 5km split and finishing 2:28 minutes clear of second place with 2:07:38 - the biggest winning margin in World Championship marathon history.

World Championship finals action featuring Aviva GB & NI team members continues on Sunday with Mo Farah and Phillips Idowu going in the 5000m and Triple Jump finals respectively, whilst both 4 x100m relay teams will also be in action.


Aviva GB & NI medals so far:

Sunday 28 August                   Mo Farah                    Men’s 10,000m           Silver 

Monday 29 August                  Andy Turner                Men’s 110mH              Bronze

Tuesday 30 August                 Jess Ennis                   Heptathlon                  Silver

Thursday 1 September           Hannah England         Women’s 1500m         Silver

Thursday 1 September           Dai Greene                  Men’s 400mH              Gold 

Top 8 finishes

Monday 29 August                  William Sharman                    Men’s 110mH            5th

Thursday 1 September           Yamile Aldama              Women’s Triple Jump         5th

Friday 2 September               Men’s 4x400m                                                          7th

Saturday 3 September           Women’s 4 x 400m                                                     4th

Saturday 3 September           Tiffany Porter             100mH                                       4th


UKA will provide daily news reports from the 2011 World Championships on www.uka.org.uk and quotes from Aviva GB & NI athletes as well as regular updates via twitter @uka_athletics and Facebook www.facebook.com/UKAofficial

For full results visit: http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/Home.aspx