With ‘100 Days to Go’ until the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, British Athletics has today confirmed it will be sending its largest contingent of marathon runners to a World Championships since 1993.
It is only the third time in history (1983, 1993 and 2017) that British Athletics has selected six marathon runners (three men and three women) to compete at a World Championships, with Dominic King becoming the first 50km race walker to represent British Athletics at a World Championships in 22 years.
Callum Hawkins (coach: Robert Hawkins)
Josh Griffiths (self-coached)
Alyson Dixon (self-coached)
Charlotte Purdue (Nic Bideau)
Tracy Barlow (Nick Anderson)
50km race walks:
Dominic King (George Nibre)
The previously unknown Josh Griffiths will represent British Athletics for the very first time at the World Championships this summer. Griffiths grabbed all the headlines at the London Marathon this past weekend, after starting the race as a club runner but finishingahead of most of the elite field in 13thposition overall – the first Brit home under the World Championship qualifying time (clocking 2:14.49).
After realising he had qualified for London 2017, Griffiths said “The goal for me was to try and run the Welsh standard for the Commonwealth Games of 2:16:00 – obviously that is the same time as the qualifier for the World Championships, but the overall goal was to get that time in. To come in the first two British athletes and qualify for the World Championships is just something that never crossed my mind at all – I can’t believe it.”
Robbie Simpson said of his selection “It has been a goal of mine and I am really happy to have made the team. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I don’t think a lot of people expected me to make the team, and maybe I didn’t think I could but I knew if I ran a good tactical race (at the London Marathon), I would have a chance.”
Griffiths and Simpson will join Olympian Callum Hawkins on the Tower Bridge start line on Sunday 6 August. Hawkins was the first athlete confirmed to represent British Athletics at London 2017, after being pre-selected for the Marathon in December last year. The 24-year-old from Kilbarchan in Scotland, was one of Britain’s standout performers at the Rio Olympic Games, where he finished in a hugely impressive ninth position.
Alyson Dixon is another Rio 2016 Olympian to be representing British Athletics in London, commenting “I got my first major British vest back in 2011 at the Daegu World Championships and I think I’ve got some unfinished business, as I went into those championships with what turned out to be three broken bones in my foot and totally underperformed as a result.
“Since then I’ve improved by six or seven minutes, so I’m really looking forward to getting out there in London to try and give it a really strong run. I’d love to go sub-2:28, but just to be in the UK and competing at a home World Championships will be fantastic and I’m really looking forward to standing on start line with Charlotte [Purdue] alongside me.”
Purdue said “I’m really excited for the World Championships. It’s a marathon, so obviously it will be tough both physically and mentally, but I’m hoping that the added element of it being here in London will hopefully spur me on too.”
Set against some of the capital’s most historically significant and picturesque backdrops, both marathons will be held on Sunday 6 August, with the 26.2-mile route starting and finishing at Tower Bridge in central London.
Taking place on Sunday 13 August, the 50km race is part of London 2017’s ‘Festival of Race Walks’. Staged along The Mall on a two-kilometre loop between Buckingham Palace and Admiralty Arch, the event is free to spectators.
British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black said: “We are delighted to confirm that we have selected the maximum number of Marathon runners for the World Championships in London. To have six marathon runners racing on the World Championship course through the heart of London and Dominic King competing in the 50km race walk on The Mall will be a fantastic sight for British athletics fans.
“But we’re not just picking these athletes to make up the numbers, even though he is young for this event Callum has already proven he is a true world class marathoner and Josh stunned the world with his 13 thplace this past weekend. I expect all of these athletes to produce very competitive performances this summer, especially with the support of a home crowd behind them.”
The full British Athletics team for the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London will be announced on 11 July 2017, with an additional announcement for events with unfilled places or available Home Nation slots made on 25 July 2017.