Great Welsh Hopes for London Trials Event
Natasha Cockram, Charlotte Arter, Dewi Griffiths Josh Griffiths will lead Welsh hopes for the Olympic Trials in Kew Gardens.
In total, nine of the top Welsh athletes will compete at the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team Trials for the Marathon and Race Walks on Friday.
The Richmond Run Fest will host the event on a multi-lap course at Kew Gardens with kudos to innovative Race Director Tom Bedford for the inclusion in his event.
The marathon trials will start in front of Kew Palace and complete one small lap followed by 12 large laps with the top two athletes in each race selected if they achieve the qualification standard.
Exciting women's race in prospect
The women’s race is set to be highly competitive with just one competing athlete already holding the qualification mark of 2:29.30. That honor sits with Scotland’s Stephanie Davis who clocked 2:27.40 in Valencia last December.
However, bragging rights sit with Wales' Natasha Cockram who is the current British Champion after claiming that title at the London Marathon in October. The MMRT athlete is a consistent performer and has a P.B. of 2:30.50 from Dublin so would need to break her own Welsh record if she was to secure a qualifying mark for the Tokyo Games.
Rosie Edwards has a best of 2:40.49 and is an exciting prospect following a scintillating half marathon P.B. of 72:24 in the United States where she is based, back in January.
Charlotte Arter will make a highly anticipated debut on Friday morning, hoping that her sub 70 minute half marathon pedigree will see her through to great first performance over the full marathon distance.
“It’s just the perfect opportunity to have a go at my first marathon,” said Arter (via Owen Morgan, Dai Sport).
“In early January, there didn’t seem to be much on the race calendar for the next couple of months. And we’d discussed it briefly at the back end of last year.
“So we thought if there wasn’t much else going on and we’re going step up to the marathon at some point anyway, we just saw it as quite a good opportunity to give it a go and see what I could do off a modest build up this time, just to see what I can do for my first marathon.”
The Cardiff athlete will be joined by training mate Clara Evans who has a best of 2:46.03 but is a greatly improved athlete since setting that time at the Virgin London Marathon in 2017.
All to play for in the men's race
Swansea Harrier Dewi Griffiths will start as the fastest athlete on paper in the men’s race following a sensational debut of 2:09.49 at the Frankfurt Marathon in 2017.
Griffiths has a second marathon under his belt, competed in 2:11.46 at London in 2019, and ran 28:45.72 over 10,000m at the start of March which will have been a great confidence booster for the Swansea man ahead of his marathon test.
2017 British Champion Josh Griffiths (2:13.11) will be traveling to London with serious expectations as will National M40 record holder Andrew Davies (2:14.36).
Callum Hawkins has been pre-selected for the Olympic Games and will not be in action on Friday. Ben Connor is the only athlete competing that currently has the mark so if the first two athletes were to get the qualifying mark, they would be selected.
Race Walk Face-Off for Wales' best
There is also a highly competitive women’s 20km race walk contest expected The women’s race here will see Welsh friends and rivals Bethan Davies and Heather Lewis face-off against the best of the rest including Gemma Bridge and Erika Kelly as they all chase a qualification standard of 91:00.
Davies has a best of 1:31.53 set in Switzerland in 2018 and Lewis has a best of 1:34.49 set at the World Athletics trials in Leeds back in 2019,
Friday 26th March
6:00 - 20km race Walk
8:00 - Marathon
Races will be streamed via the British Athletics Website and on the BBC Red Button TBC.