The cream of UK talent look ahead to Sunday – and what the Great British weather might hold
British elite men
On whether he’ll be out to prove a point on Sunday after missing GB Tokyo Olympic marathon trials in March with an ankle injury:
“I’m quite highly motivated anyway so I don’t usually need any extra reason to do well. But that does add a bit more fuel to the fire.
“I’m looking forward to Sunday. Training has gone well since then and the ankle injury is behind me so I’m ready for it.”
On how the injury occurred:
“We had a cold spell with snow and ice in the winter, and I got tight calves. I slept in compression sleeves one night, which I’ve done before, and for some reason they rolled down in my sleep and stopped my circulation.
“That caused gout, which crystallised in my ankle. We couldn’t get the swelling down quickly enough so that caused problems with the Achilles. I had fluid drained and cortisone injected but it didn’t settle so I just ran out of time.
“To stand on the start line of an Olympic trials marathon you have to be 100 per cent ready to go and I just wasn’t there. I’d missed too much training by that point. It was really unlucky but it is what it is and that’s sport.”
On how confident he feels after being first Briton home last year:
“This will be my 10th marathon and with every one I am gaining confidence and learning more about the distance. I know how it feels now after 30K, which you can only gain with experience.
“Last year gave me confidence, especially with the conditions so hopefully I can do that again this year.”
On how the weather conditions will affect Sunday’s race:
“I think I’ll judge it a bit closer to the race, but we have some really good pacemakers and hopefully we can use the group to shelter from the wind! We’ll have a bit more shelter from the buildings this year.
“The weather might play a part in the race but we just have to wait and see.”
On whether qualifying for the 2022 World Championships team is a target for Sunday:
“Yes, my goal is to run inside 2:11:30 and try to finish as first Brit, but equally I’m not thinking too far ahead. I want to finish Sunday and then it would be nice to have a selection of races to pick after that.
“It is a target, but indirectly. I want to have a good run on Sunday and then go from there.
“Potentially I could compete for a medal at the Commonwealth Games so that would be huge. I just don’t know yet.
“I’d also love to go and do a spring marathon like Boston, that’s next on my list, then hopefully Chicago one day.”
On the current state of British marathon running:
“I think it’s in a really good place. The fact that the three guys who were at the Olympics aren’t here now shows it’s in a really healthy condition. I think we can all help each other to raise the standard.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how Charlie Hulson does at the weekend because he has a real future ahead of him on the roads. And don’t forget the old guys like Andy Davies. It all helps us all to raise the bar.”
On how the predicted wet weather conditions will affect Sunday’s race:
“I like to control the things I can control. I can’t decide what the weather will be. It will be the same for everyone. Being Welsh, I’m probably a bit more accustomed to it than some, so if it’s bad I’ll try and use to my advantage rather than look on it as a negative.”
On whether qualifying for the 2022 World Championships team is one of the targets for Sunday:
“Definitely. Next year is a dream for marathon runners with three championships to aim for, so there are lots of goals. The World Championships is one of them, but then you’ve got Europeans and Commonwealth Games standards, and a personal best.
“I’ll try to give it my all and go as quick as I can. If I come away with a PB I’ll be happy.”
On how his preparation compares to previous marathon training:
“I much prefer preparing for an autumn marathon because the weather is much fairer. It’s much easier to get quality training. Over the winter preparing for the Olympic trials it was quite difficult to get that quality with the ice and limited travel.
“This time has been a lot smoother and there are no excuses on Sunday. If I can reproduce my race for 2017 it will be a good day.”
On chasing the world best of 4:59:22 for a father/son combined marathon with his dad, Nick Griffiths, who is also running on Sunday:
“I coach my dad as well and he’s running really well for a 52-year-old. If there’s a chance we can do it, it will be pretty awesome. But I think we’ll both just focus on our own races and then we’ll see what happens.”
On his plans for next year:
“To be honest I’ll have to wait and see how Sunday goes. My focus is Sunday and hopefully setting myself up for a championship next summer.”
On arriving in the UK on Tuesday (28 September) after training in Kenya:
“I’ve managed to throw off the jet lag and kept training going so it’s all looking good. Training went well. I’ve done all I need to do to get a good time. If all goes well with the weather and running on the main London course, I’m pretty confident.
“I’ve not run the London Marathon before, but I hope to get a personal best and that qualifying time for the World Championships.”
On how confident he feels after finishing third on his marathon debut at the GB Olympic trials in March:
“It showed me the marathon is the right distance for me. I really liked it and from doing well on my first attempt I am confident I can improve. I know what the journey is now and to what to expect. I know what I need to do to perform at my best.”
On what it would mean to represent Britain at the 2022 World Championships:
“It would be a dream come true. It’s the dream of every athlete to represent their country and wear the national vest. It would make me proud, so it’s a massive goal to do well in London.”
On who he sees as his main rivals:
“Jonny [Mellor] is in there. He’s the big one with the main time now. But I don’t mind being in the mix with the Africans too. They are all very experienced with lots of marathons in their legs. I have a lot of respect for all of them.
“I’ll just aim to tuck in and perform my best on the day. I don’t mind going off with everyone else and then settling into my own pace. It’s only in the race that I’ll know how I feel, but passing the halfway mark at 65 minutes, or sub-65, would be good. I’ll have to see what the pacing groups are like.”
On the inspiration he gets from his friend and sometime training partner Sir Mo Farah:
“He is my role model as well as a close friend. We’ve done some training camps together and he’s motivated me a lot and given me advice. He hasn’t said anything specifically about Sunday yet but I may text him beforehand. We’ll see.”
British elite women
On her preparations for Sunday:
“I couldn’t really have asked for better preparation. Everything has gone better than I expected, so I’m looking forward to running on Sunday.
“This will be my seventh marathon and every time I find the training a bit easier and can push it a bit more. I always look back on my training diary and everything has gone better than it ever has before.”
On overcoming the disappointment of not being selected for the Tokyo Olympic team:
“Obviously I was disappointed not to be selected but I quickly focused on something else and having the London Marathon was a great thing to aim for.
“I always want to run every year and for me the London Marathon is as exciting as the Olympics, so I put all my focus into training for this race.”
On her hopes of qualifying for the 2022 World Championships:
“I haven’t decided what my plans will be for next year yet, with Commonwealth Games, World Championships and European Championships, so I’ll have to decide which one I go for. At the moment I haven’t thought past Sunday.”
On her target time for Sunday:
“It’s very weather-dependent but I’ve got Mara [Yamauchi’s] 2:23:12 in my head.”
On her preparations for Sunday’s race:
“This is my first marathon injury-free and completely pain free, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s meant my training hasn’t been quite as intense as normal but I think being injury-free is more important.
“I definitely want a PB and to bring the Welsh record down into the 2:20s. It was so close last time.”
On coping with last year’s cold and wet conditions and the multi-lapped course:
“I think the conditions slowed the race down a lot but I loved the lapped course. It will be interesting to be back out on the normal London course on Sunday. Hopefully, the weather is going to be better so the times will represent that and we can go a bit faster.
“I used to train in Norfolk on an 800m lap around a reservoir so I think I was so used to doing the laps. I loved it.”
On the return of spectators and the mass race to the London Marathon:
“It will be my first elite race in London with spectators so I’m really excited. They really do push you along and you get faster times.”
On her hopes of setting a personal best on Sunday:
“It will definitely be a PB, that’s for sure, but I hope it’s a big PB. But we’ll see what we can pull out on the day.
“But the marathon is so unpredictable. I hope the training will pay off but you can never predict how it will go.
“I’ve had two marathon build-ups now, which have been slightly different but it is good to have all that training in the tank. I’m looking forward to giving it a real good shot.”
On progressing from being a club runner to the elite Start Line over the last few years:
“It’s been a whirlwind really. It’s all happened so quickly in the space of two or three years. If you’d asked me two-and-a-half years ago if I could be in the position I am now, I would probably have laughed.
“It just goes to show if you are dedicated and put in the training and make the sacrifices, you never know where you’re going to end up. If you can get in a mindset and give it your all, anyone can do it.”
On what it would mean to make the GB team for the 2022 World Championships:
“It would be a dream come true. I want to get a qualifying time for one of the three championships next year. The Worlds would be incredible; to be on the start line with the world’s best. Hopefully I can.”