Claire Hallissey and Dave Webb are the final additions to the British marathon team for the 2012 Olympics
Following her 11th-place finish at last weekend’s Virgin London Marathon, Claire Hallissey has taken the third and final spot on the British women’s marathon team for the London 2012 Olympics.
Dave Webb, whose top-20 finish at last year’s World Championships counted as a qualifying mark, has also been added to the team. He will join the already-selected Scott Overall, while Hallissey will team up with marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe and 2008 Olympic top-six finisher Mara Yamauchi.
Hallissey posted a qualifying mark of 2:29:27 last October when finishing sixth at the Chicago Marathon. But several other Britons had also achieved the qualifying mark, so one spot on the women’s team was left open with last weekend’s race in London being the last chance to impress selectors.
Hallissey knew that she needed to produce the run of her life to go one better than Jo Pavey, who ran 2:28 last year in both London and New York. With Pavey taking the gamble to sit out of the London Marathon, Hallissey smashed her personal best by two minutes to cross the line as top Briton in 2:27:44.
To make the selectors’ decision even more difficult, Hallissey was followed across the line by Freya Murray, who impressed with her 2:28:10 debut. But with Hallissey’s time making her the third-fastest Briton within the Olympic qualifying period, she was given the nod for the final spot on the team.
“I’m absolutely thrilled, I think it’s still sinking in,” said the 29-year-old. “I’m very, very happy. It’s a dream come true, it’s what you aspire to getting on to an Olympic team.
“I was very happy with my performance at the London Marathon, it went exactly as I was aiming for and hoping for. It was one of those races where everything clicked into place and all went according to plan. I’ve done three marathons so far and I’ve got quicker over each one so it seems like I’ve found my distance.”
Webb was also excited at the prospect of competing in an Olympics on home soil. “I’m delighted to be selected,” he said. “I’m going to work extremely hard over the coming months to be in the best possible condition to compete well at the Games.”
Pavey, meanwhile, will now turn her attention to the track in an attempt to qualify for the Games. She will need to run either 15:20 in the 5000m or 31:45 in the 10,000m in order to make the team.
“Congratulations to them both and especially Claire coming in first Briton – she ran so well,” said Pavey.
“It’s not all doom and gloom. Partially it’s a weight lifted off my mind because now I know what I have to focus on. I’ll turn my attention to the 5000m and 10,000m and trying to qualify on the track. That’s what I am most familiar with. It’s only the situation I am normally in every summer.”