25th April 2010

London Marathon Report

25 April 2010

The Virgin London Marathon proved to be an inspirational host for British athletes as the home talent put in top performances in the capital city on Sunday 25 April.

In cooler conditions than predicted David Weir (unattached) managed to hold on for the bronze medal in a dramatic men’s wheelchair race which saw him lose a substantial lead but hold on for a podium finish, while debutant Andrew Lemoncello (Fife) finished in eighth place and first European in the men’s race, a monumental finish for the 27 year old.

Mara Yamauchi (Harrow AC) finished in tenth after a tough women’s race and Andi Jones (Salford Harriers), also took the final spot in the men’s top ten.

Four male and five female Brits reached the qualification target for the European Marathon Cup at the European Championships in Barcelona in late July and the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Delhi in October. 

Individual race reports:


In a promising start to his marathon career debutant Andrew Lemoncello (Fife) produced a good first outing over 26 miles, finishing in eighth place with 2:13.40. Not only was he first Brit home but qualified for both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships in the process.

Andi Jones (Salford Harriers) followed him home with 2.16:38 in tenth place, also under the qualification mark for both of the forthcoming summer championships.

The top three Brits through 10k and 15k, which included Dan Robinson (Stroud) at that point,were on course for qualification and sub 2:15.00 finishes.

Lemoncello, who returned to the course after supporting his mother as a youngster, progressed through 25k in 1:17.38, taking a lead ahead of Jones who followed in 1:18.13 and continued that fine form through onto The Mall.

He said: "I’m pretty disappointed with the run. I was on my own so I struggled but the crowd was lifting me. It justified my decision to go away from the track so it’s a good start. Hopefully I’ll take away mentally how I felt during the race.

"I’d love to run 10k at the Europeans and maybe again at the Commonwealths. I’ve been looking forward to it for 12 years and I want to do it every year now."

Ben Moreau (Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Lee Merrien (Newham & Essex Beagles) came home within the qualification times for both summer championships in quick succession, occupying eleventh and twelfth with 2.16:46 and 2.16:48 respectively.

Full results will be available at www.london-marathon.co.uk



2009 London Marathon silver medallist Mara Yamauchi (Harrow AC), who was tipped for top three success, finished in tenth place with 2.26:16 after a tough race.

In the early stages she maintained position within the leading group occupying various seats from first to fifth. Running at a 2.20:00 pace (with a pacemaker to half way) high calibre athletes such as Deena Kaster (USA) and Olympic champion Constantina Dita (Romania) fell behind as the front group began to break up but Yamauchi managed to stay in contact.

In a shock twist defending champion Irina Mikitenko (Germany) dropped out of the race just after half way, which also proved a difficult period for Yamauchi who fell behind the lead pack at this point.

30k into the race leader Bezunesh Bekele (Ethiopia) lead but Russian duo Liliya Shobukhova (eventual winner with 2.22:00) and Inga Abitova pushed on towards the finish it was clear Yamauchi would not receive a podium spot this year.

She said: "I was working hard to stay with the pace. The journey here and injury last year meant that I wasn’t as prepared as last year. I have to go away and work hard to come back next year.

"It’s not the end of the world and I’ll give it my best next time. I’ll have a break now and then maybe run an autumn marathon to try and qualify for the London Olympics."

Celebrating their automatic selection to the European Marathon Cup team Susan Partridge (Leeds City) and Helen Decker (Ipswich Jaffa) finished in 42nd and 44th place respectively. Their times of 2.35:57 and 2.36:56 well under the qualification mark of 2.38:00.

Rebecca Robinson, Jo WIlkinson and Holly Rush also ran under the qualification mark and will be eligible for selection with their respective 2.37:14, 2.37:44, 2.37:56 times.

Full results will be available at www.london-marathon.co.uk



In a dramatic men’s wheelchair race David Weir looked set to take his fifth London Marathon victory but crossed the line in third with 1.37:01 after a left wheel puncture ruined his gold medal dream. 

The former course record holder had a fantastic start, braking up the pack at 5k before going on to create and maintain a hefty lead. His confidence and lead was fuelled by the withdrawal of defending champion Kurt Fearnely of Australia but after suffering a puncture on the 40k mark around the Embankment area of the course he started to lose the advantage he had built.

Weir lost his lead during the final few kilometres giving up the gold and silver places to Josh Cassidy (Canada) in 1:35.21 and Marcel Hug of Switzerland in 1.36:07 respectively.

Weir said: "Obviously disappointing. I had a front puncture first which I could handle but then when my left tyre gave up further on, that made it almost impossible to race."

Full results will be available at www.london-marathon.co.uk



Shelly Woods (Blackpool) succumbed to the same fate as her male counterpart in the late stages of her race. The 2007 champion had looked promising, spending much of the race accompanying the top four, leading at times, but after the 25k mark her hopes were dashed in the form of a puncture and she was forced to push home very slowly thereafter, finishing in sixth place with 2.45:40 (Unofficially).

Woods will turn to the track now and focus on the Commonwealth Games 1500m for which she has already gained the qualification mark.

"London is the home marathon, there’s nothing like racing here. My winter training’s been going well and it’s a shame I couldn’t have shown that here."

Full results will be available at www.london-marathon.co.uk