Virgin London Marathon 2018: Serpentine Men’s Team Preview

Serpentine has some cracking marathoners currently. Two England reps in Nick Torry (2.15) and Jonathan Poole (2.20); former Welsh Champion Richard Phillips (2.24); and recent improver Martin O’Connell (2.27).

Picture from Virgin London Marathon 2018: Serpentine Men’s Team Preview

None of these guys are running London so the team, competing within the UKA and England championships just a month after winning team gold in the UKA Champs held within the Big Half, just has to muddle through with the best of the rest currently up for it. So, get this, it’s a likely combo of any of Tony Payne (notable PB of 2.19 in Berlin 2017); Andy Greenleaf, possibly the world’s fastest Kona Ironman with a day job (2.21 PB and fresh off a half PB of 67.06 in Valencia); Will Green, defying his 43 years with a super 68.16 PB at the Big Half, currently a close 3rd in the UK V40 rankings); John Franklin, 2.26 PB and not short of distance in his dedicated build up; Xavier Gruot, whose recent 69.57 at the Big Half suggests he is on course to (slightly belatedly!) break sub 2.30; as, with something to spare, should the much improved Chris Oddy, recently clocking a 68.06 PB in Valencia. Zipping over the tarmac somewhere close by should be Hussein Ahmed, PB of 2.28 and recent 71 minute half marathon for Egypt, and the fast-cadenced Nicolas Besson who has been churning out PBs aplenty in the build-up. Also looking towards the faster end of the 2.30s will be debutant Ben Tolputt and the evenly matched Julian Barbour.

It goes without saying that training sessions and historic PBs don’t count for anything until you cross the marathon finish line, and not every marathon goes exactly to plan, but there isn’t another British club currently that has this depth of men’s long distance runners toeing the line on 22nd April. The team result is based on cumulative times of the fastest three runners wearing club colours.

If you are seeking inspiration for your running and some reassurance that you can push on whilst retaining a normal life (OK, one of the above named has spent some nights sleeping in a hypoxic ‘tent’ and most of the above don’t see pub closing time as time to head off to a club), you are in the right place for it.

David Chalfen
(Photo credit: Chris Oddy)


Submitted: 15 April 2018