London Marathon Preview

David Chalfen has kindly provided this preview ahead of Sunday's London Marathon. 

Another year for the leading Serpentine guys to show that they head the UK clubs in quality in depth. Hopefully the weather will enable them to clock suitable times to match high finishing positions.


Firstly apologies for absence from 2.16 runner Tony Payne. A fairly complex backstory about IAAF and IOC entry criteria means that he defers until the Riga Marathon in 19 May to seek a finishing position to enable consideration for the Tokyo Olympics for Thailand.


So on paper the squad is headed by Nick Torry who has returned incredibly quickly towards his very best form and starts with the official elite. Possibly the only member who can simply WATCH a half marathon and gain some marginal aerobic adaptation.


Expect a tight pairing of Andy Greenleaf and Jonathan Poole who should both be right on course to duck under the elusive 2.20 barrier. Some trio. Also, running very consistently at national level will be Will Green who hopes to eke out a little more than his high 2.24 in Valencia, as he approaches the v45 category. Nic Besson has moved on since his Frankfurt pb of 2.28 and expect him, Martin O'Connell and Xavier Gruot to be substantially  on the smart side if 2.30. Chris Oddy has been returning to fitness after many months out through 2018 and will chase his 2.29 pb whilst Ben Tolputt should be in very similar territory. Are these runners any good? As context, last year a mid 2.23 PB earned an athlete a full senior England International marathon vest.


Others looking to be shading 2.40 should include the likes of David Evans and V40 Jeremy Agnew. Leading the V45s in the low 2.40s if all goes to plan should be the consistent and well prepared Andy Reeves and Jon Moscrop  


Amongst the leading women, and with Marta Bagnati passing, there is a group heading into the race in quite similar form and with numerous shared long runs and sessions in the training bank. Expect a good performance from Anna Lawson whose Half Marathon PB of 84.12 at Reading suggests she may be right on the cusp of 3.00. 


Emilie Isaacs ran 85.41 at the Big Half and on paper should not be far away from Lauren Roe whose attempt to improve her  PB of 3.06 will be done amidst the demands of being a junior doctor.   Ahlem Ben Gueblia has moved her fitness on from last year and should also be within shouting distance of 3 hours. Megan Roberts should be amongst the club’s leading group after an excellent cross country season, whilst Jacqueline O Connor may well be the club’s leading V40 on the day and will be hoping to rewrite forward her PB of 3.13.


Good luck to all and encouragingly  it looks like the sun cream won’t be needed.


David Chalfen



Tom Poynton

Submitted: 24 April 2019