runABC Scotland News

4 Aug

British Trio Face Tough Task

Claire Hallissey and Freya Murray at the Virgin London Marathon

Even though the race will be missing the UK's marathon heiress, Paula Radcliffe, tomorrow's event will still be of considerable interest to British fans with Mara Yamauchi, Claire Hallissey and Freya Murray all competing. While the trio are unlikely to clinch a podium position, Hallissey and Murray's performance in London marathon suggest that the pair are capable of setting PBs on their Olympic debut.

With Radcliffe's withdrawal, Yamauchi is promoted to the senior member of the team, and has the strongest marathon time of the three with a 2:23:12 at London marathon in 2009. The 38-year-old also boasts Olympic experience, equalling the best performance of a British woman over the distance when she secured sixth place in Beijing.

Mara Yamauchi

After setting the qualifying standard for her 'all or nothing' run at London marathon, Claire Hallissey will be looking to produce another strong showing in the capital. Her form leading up to the Olympics has been encouraging, securing 10th place at the New York Mini 10K in an extremely strong field.

Freya Murray, meanwhile, will be determined to justify her late selection after Radcliffe's withdrawal. Even though she only found out she would be travelling to London on Monday, Freya had been in constant contact with both UK Athletics about Radcliffe's fitness and knew there was a chance she would be competing. Like Hallissey, Freya's recent outings suggest she is hitting form at the right time, winning the Women's 10K in Glasgow in May.

Mary Keitany's performance at London marathon, in which she set an African record of 2:18:37, singles her out as favourite for Sunday's race. A negative split in that event - running the second half in 67:44 - indicates that another record may be on the horizon and is an ominous sign for the rest of the field.

Liliya Shobukhova, Edna Kiplagat & Mary Keitany

On paper, however, Keitany isn't the strongest competitor, with Liliya Shobukhova's 2:18:20 at Chicago marathon making the Russian the second fastest female of all time (behind you know who). Other runners likely to place well are Edna Kiplagat, who finished second to Keitany at London, and Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana, who, despite being a spritely young thing at 24, won this year's Rotterdam marathon with an impressive 2:18:58.

Such is the quality of the field, the top six runners are all capable of running under 2:20 - Aselefech Mergia (2:19:31) and Mare Dibaba (2:19:52) also deserve a mention - and as a marker of current form, are all times which have been set in the last year.