15th April 2011

Brits Line Up For London


15 April 2011

This weekend’s Virgin London Marathon features a number of GB athletes vying for selection for this year’s World Championships. With marathon selection scheduled for Monday, here is a run down of the top Brits with Daegu in their sights: 

British Men

Andrew Lemoncello, who finished eighth on his debut at the Virgin London Marathon 12 months ago, admits that this year’s event is even more exciting because every British athlete has got an eye on 2012.

“You’re not going to give up anything (in the closing stages),” says the US-based Scot who heads the elite British men’s field for this year’s edition of the event.

“It was so exciting when Phil (Wicks) said he was doing London, and other guys like Lee (Merrien) have been training really well, so yeah, this is going to be it!"

Having been forced to drop out of Fukuoka Marathon in December with stomach cramps, Lemoncello’s best – and only – marathon mark is his solid 2:13.40 in London which is inside UK Athletics’ ‘team’ standard of 2:16 for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in August, and just outside the required individual standard of 2:12.

He insists it’s a stepping stone to London however, and at this stage has not confirmed his intentions to run over the marathon distance in South Korea, potentially opting to focus on the track 10,000m instead.

Wicks, a former pacemaker in London, is not daunted by the prospect of making his debut over 26.2 miles and is reassured by his previous event experience.

“I’m really looking forward to Sunday,” he says; “my training has gone really well and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ve always run a high mileage, and while the long runs are hard work I’ve been feeling better every week.

“I had to train hard to pace the race and I ran through to 25km, so although it’s a debut race I’ve run the first half before and it’s given me good experience.

“2:12 is obviously on my mind and my training has gone well enough for me to think about it. I’m aiming for it because I think I can achieve it.”

Merrien, who recently returned from a UKA/London Marathon Altitude Training Camp in Iten, Kenya, has a best of 2:16:48 from 2010 and is joined by Dave Webb, who, like Lemoncello has clocked the UKA ‘team’ standard within the qualification period with a mark of 2:15:42, and Martin Williams with a PB of 2:17:36.

“Some people have said 2:12 is tough,” concludes Lemoncello, but to be realistic, you’re not going to do anything at the Olympics (if you run outside of that), and we can get a full team out.”