Sir Mo Farah (coach: Gary Lough; club: Newham & Essex Beagles), Charlotte Purdue (Nic Bideau; Aldershot Farnham & District) and Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins; Kilbarchan) all starred at the London Marathon as the battle for British Championship medals brought out a string of great performances.
Farah retained his British title in 2:05:39, his second quickest time ever over the 26.2-mile distance, but couldn’t break into the top three overall as he finished fifth with Kenyan world record holder Eliud Kipchoge winning the London Marathon for a record fourth time in 2:02:37.
Hawkins and Purdue meanwhile both cracked the top ten in record breaking fashion on the streets of the capital. Hawkins took over two minutes off his personal best as he claimed British silver and placed tenth in a new Scottish record of 2:08:14 and moved to third on the all-time UK list.
Purdue’s numbers were equally similar, progressing through the field from 18th at the 15 kilometre mark to win the British women’s marathon title and finish tenth herself in a huge personal best of almost four minutes, 2:25:38 and that too moving her third on the all-time UK list.
Courtesy of their efforts in London, Purdue and Hawkins have fulfilled the automatic qualifying criteria for the marathon for the IAAF World Championships in Doha later in the year as did Tish Jones (Belgrave), who claimed British silver in 2:31:00
Purdue, who’s time was also inside the marathon standard set by the IAAF for the Tokyo 2020 Games, 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. To come third is a really good result. 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.”
Hawkins too was inside the Tokyo 2020 Olympic marathon standard, and he said: “It was really tough, it was windy about three quarters of the way around. I had a funny moment when I hit 40km but I managed to get myself back together. I was hoping for 2:07 but I am happy with 2:08 given the conditions. 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 and be in even better condition. It is the first time I have not negative split finishing a marathon so it was tough but there are a lot of positives.”
Meanwhile Farah, who’s 30km split of 1:27:28 was a British record, beating the previous best by 17 seconds, said: “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 and 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.”
With Farah and Hawkins taking British gold and silver respectively, Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans; Swansea) completed the podium with a 2:11:46 effort in only his second ever marathon, that time inside the qualifying standard for Doha. He said: “Third Brit and I’ve got the standard for Doha. I was more nervous this second time around because I had to prove myself. First time around I had nothing to lose and I went for it. This time I was getting to the water stations nervous because it was totally new again but a humbling experience and onto the next one.”
Before Farah, Hawkins and Griffiths took the British one-two-three in the men’s race, the women’s went right to the wire with Jones passing Lily Partridge (Aldershot Farnham & District) as the finished loomed to take silver in a personal best of more than two seconds.
Jones’ 2:31:00 was exactly the mark required to fulfil the automatic qualifying criteria for the World Championships while Partridge claimed British bronze in 2:31:53. Jones said: “As I went under [the finish] it was 59 but I was just happy that it was that. I just so badly want to prove myself because I knew what I am capable of. I know I can do something better than I have done and just needed the opportunity to give it a go. I really, really want a GB vest. I have worked so hard to get it and I have been on the brink before but then something happens, I am just so, so happy.”