The six runners who will represent Great Britain in the marathon at this summer’s World Athletics Championships in London have each been awarded a £5,000 training grant by London Marathon Events Ltd.
Five of the six athletes – Joshua Griffiths, Robbie Simpson, Alyson Dixon, Charlotte Purdue and Tracy Barlow – confirmed their spots at the World Championships with fine runs at April’s Virgin Money London Marathon which acted as the official British Athletics qualifying event.
Following his outstanding performances in London and Rio in 2016, Callum Hawkins was pre-selected ahead of this year’s London Marathon but, like the other five athletes, he receives £5,000 as part of London Marathon Events Ltd’s continued commitment to improving British marathon running.
“We are proud to support the final preparations of these six runners who will represent Great Britain in London in August,” said Hugh Brasher, Event Director for London Marathon Events Ltd. “It is part of the extensive programme that is funded by London Marathon Events which aims to improve the overall standard of British distance running.”
Swansea Harrier Griffiths was one of the most popular stories of this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon when he ran from the club runners’ start to become the first Brit home in 13th place overall in an extraordinary debut over the marathon distance.
The 23-year-old can’t wait for the World Championships marathon to come round and says the £5,000 training grant will be invaluable as he looks to back-up his stunning debut. He said: “I can’t thank London Marathon Events Ltd enough for all its support since the race. The training grant will go a long way to ensuring I am able to perform at my best at the World Championships. “I will look to go warm weather training to get some quality training done in a good environment which wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the greatest race in the world, the Virgin Money London Marathon.”
Hawkins finished as the first Brit in London in 2016 and went on to shine at the Rio Olympics where he finished ninth and is hoping to impress again at the World Championships. Hawkins, 24, said: “Once again I’m hugely thankful to London Marathon Events Ltd for their financial support through this training grant. It will go a long way to support my training as I build up towards the World Championships.”
Simpson, 25, the third British male to be competing at the World Championships this summer, was the second British finisher at the Virgin Money London Marathon in April.
He said: “Racing in the London Marathon and qualifying for the World Championships this year was one of the best experiences in my career so far. I’m really excited about the next weeks and months of training until my next marathon in London, this time representing Great Britain. This grant will allow me to train and prepare as well as possible over the next months and arrive at the Championships in the best possible form.”
For the second year in a row, Sunderland’s Alyson Dixon was the first British woman at the Virgin Money London Marathon, booking her spot to the World Championships, following on from her appearance at last year’s Rio Olympics.
Dixon, 38, who ran a personal best of 2:29:06 in London, said: “I’d like to thank London Marathon Events for their support in my preparation for London 2017. The training grant will allow me to prepare at altitude for longer and make sure that I am in the best condition I can be for London.”
Joining Dixon on the team will be Charlotte Purdue and Tracy Barlow, both making their World Championship debuts.
Purdue, who was the second Brit at the Virgin Money London Marathon, was also delighted with the funding boost. She said: “It’s a massive thing for me. I’m not on British Athletics’ funding programme and although I do get some help from them, I do fund a lot of things myself and this grant will be huge in helping me run as best I can at the World Championships.”
Purdue, 25, made her marathon debut in London last year and has got better and better with each marathon since – going sub 2:30 for the first time at this year’s London Marathon. Now she can’t wait to attack the World Championships. “I really have learnt a lot over the last year,” said Purdue. “The World Championships will be my fourth marathon and I’m looking forward to having a good race rather than running against the clock.”
Barlow, 31, said: “I am hugely grateful to the London Marathon Events for the training grant. It will enable me to spend more time training abroad at altitude and in the heat in preparation for a summer marathon at the Worlds. I will also be able to focus solely on training well whilst abroad, knowing that I have the funds and support behind me to address all areas of marathon training.”