Nine Boulder Wave Athletes Set for Tomorrow’s Virgin London Marathon; Olympic Berths At Stake

In about 12 hours, the gun will go off for the 9:00 a.m. start of the elite women’s run in the Virgin London Marathon, followed 45 minutes later by the start of the elite men and mass races. Boulder Wave has nine runners from five countries in this year’s race, and interesting stores abound, with an overwhelming focus on Olympic qualification.

John Beattie (UK/adidas): budding star of the Twitter universe and Athleticos whose London prep has been entertainingly documented in a several on-line videos. John learned some valuable lessons in his 2:23 marathon debut in NYC last November, and will run with the 2:11 group with a target to be one of the top two British men AND run under 2:12:00, thereby taking one of the two remaining spots on the UK Olympic men’s marathon team.

Louise Damen (UK/adidas): debuted in 2:30:00 in last year’s Virgin London Marathon and is among 4-5 top British women with the best hopes of gaining the third spot on the British Olympic Marathon team. It is expected that the top British woman tomorrow will also have to be under 2:28:24, which is the recent best of Jo Pavey, who is currently in line for the third spot on the team.

Constantina Dita (ROU/ASICS): the 42 year old reigning Olympic Marathon Champion is aiming to qualify ┬áto return to the Olympic Games. It will take a sub-2:37:00 mark to hit the qualifying “A” standard and join Lidia Simon for a third time on Romania’s Olympic team.

Rene Kalmer (RSA/adidas/Nedbank): secured a place on South Africa’s Olympic marathon team with a wonderful 2:29:59 PB in last November’s very hot, very humid Yokohama women’s marathon. Rene is pacing the 2:28 women’s group here, which is expected to include most of the British women fighting for the final spot on their Olympic marathon team, as far as 20 miles. Last month, she paced the 2:23 lead pack of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon for 24 km.

Edna Kiplagat (KEN/Nike): the reigning IAAF Marathon World Champion is aiming to win tomorrow, and also to confirm her spot on Kenya’s Olympic team.

Lee Merrien (UK/ASICS): won the Jim Peters award in the 2011 Virgin Marathon as the top British finisher. Has had a fantastic autumn and winter of training including three stints in Kenya. Two spots remain on the British Olympic men’s marathon team, and Lee will be going out with the 2:11 pacemaking group with a target of sub-2:12 and top two British finish.

Freya Murray (UK/adidas): her maraton debut and she is jumping right into the thick of it by targeting both a fast debut and the final spot on the British Olympic Marathon team.

Louise Damen (UK/adidas): debuted in 2:30:00 in last year’s Virgin London Marathon and is among 4-5 top British women with the best hopes of gaining the third spot on the British Olympic Marathon team. As in Louise Damen’s case, Freya will need to be top British woman and finish under 2:28:24 (which is the recent best of Jo Pavey, who is currently in line for the third spot on the team) to secure that Olympic berth.

Patrick Rizzo (USA/Mizuno): will pace the 2:11 men’s group potentially as far as 20 miles. After improving his marathon PB by over two minutes with his 2:13:42in January’s US Olympic Trails, Pat will also use the race tomorrow as part of his longer-term goal of running under 2:11 in a marathon this autumn.

Irvette van Blerk (RSA/adidas/Nedbank): With a 70:56 half-marathon PB, Irvette has a promising marathon career ahead, with tomorrow’s race being her debut at the distance. A sub-2:37:00 finish to achieve the Olympic “A” standard will put her on South Africa’s Olympic marathon team.

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