Jo Pavey at the London Marathon (© Getty Images)
Britain’s 2014 European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey has been added to the elite women’s field for the Virgin Money London Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on 23 April.
Pavey made history last summer when she became the first British track athlete to compete at five Olympic Games. Now the 43-year-old will return to the London Marathon for the first time since 2011 with a double objective: to set a PB and to qualify for the IAAF World Championships London 2017 in August.
“I’m always looking for a new challenge,” said Pavey. “Last year was all about making a fifth Olympic Games and after I had done that I started to think about my next challenge. I have been thinking about doing a marathon again for the past few years and for a British athlete the London Marathon – with the amazing home crowds and the iconic course – is the pinnacle. I wanted to be sure I was injury-free and could crack on with my training before committing, which I am, and I’m really excited about the challenge.
“I would love to qualify for the World Championships in London,” she added. “I know it’s a tough ask, but it is an exciting challenge to think about the possibility of representing my country over distances from the 1500m right up to the marathon. It’s also an event where I think I have the possibility of running a PB and that is also a massive target of mine.”
Pavey’s marathon PB of 2:28:24 was set on her debut at the distance in London in 2011. Later that year she came within 18 seconds of that mark on the traditionally slower New York City Marathon course, clocking 2:28:42 in what was her last marathon to date.
Qualifying for a place at the World Championships in August will mean she will have to finish within 2:36:00 and be in the top two British finishers at the London Marathon which again acts as the British trial race.
Beyond the battle of Britain, Pavey is excited about standing on the start line with some of the best runners in the world.
“It’s an amazing line-up with runners like Jemima Sumgong and Mary Keitany, as well as someone like Tirunesh Dibaba who has been such a legend on the track you forget she has run 2:20:35 for the marathon.”
Meanwhile, Pavey’s fellow British Olympians Tsegai Tewelde and Scott Overall have been added to the elite men’s field.
Tewelde produced one of last year’s London Marathon when he was the second Briton home, clocking 2:12:23 on his marathon debut to earn selection for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He was forced to drop out of the Olympic marathon, but is now keen to make amends by earning a place at this year’s World Championships.
Overall’s PB was also set on his debut when he ran 2:10:55 to finish fifth in Berlin in 2011. He went on to compete at the Olympic Games in 2012 and has since finished in the top 15 in London and Chicago.
Callum Hawkins has already been pre-selected for the World Championships, leaving just two places open on the British team for the men’s marathon.
Organisers for the IAAF