The son of Commonwealth marathon 10th-placer Keith Anderson takes on the London Marathon this weekend
Almost 20 years after Keith Anderson ran for England in the Commonwealth Games marathon, his son Tom is aiming to follow in his footsteps.
Back in the late 1990s, Keith produced one of the most inspirational stories in domestic athletics after taking up athletics in his 30s and transforming himself from a self-confessed “14-stone slob” who smoked 20 cigarettes a day into a British fell running champion who finished 10th in the Commonwealth marathon in Kuala Lumpur aged 41 (pictured below).
Now, 27-year-old Tom is hoping to catch the selectors’ attention in the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday with a view to potentially racing in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.
At the very least, Tom jokes that he’d like to beat the family marathon best of 2:17:08, which his dad ran in Boston in 1998.
Tom’s best is 2:19:52, which he ran in Chicago last year after hitting The Wall in the final 10km. “It was good experience ahead of London,” says Keith. “Tom has an ability to bounce back from knock-backs, which stands him in good stead as an endurance runner. He’s also had a pretty trouble-free build-up to London.”
Tom says: “I’m happy with the way training’s gone lately. Some of my training has been at altitude in Boulder, Colorado, and everything has been solely dedicated to London. I’d like to run a solid race and hang on for as long as I can and then, when you get into the final miles, see what happens. It’s nice to be in a position where I have nothing to lose.”
Keith adds: “Whatever happens, I am proud of him not only as my son but as a very fine runner. It’s been a pleasure to help and coach him over the years and watch him develop as an athlete.”
After growing up in the Yorkshire Dales and sometimes finding himself in the same races as the Brownlee brothers, Tom moved down to study at Southampton University and joined Winchester AC. He then enjoyed a spell at Butler University – the same place Callum Hawkins and Scott Overall have studied – before starting a job with the NCAA in Indianapolis.
Tom is coached by Matt Roe, but Keith often offers his son advice from his home in south-east France. As one of Britain’s top distance runners of the late 1990s, he knows what it takes to run a good marathon and plans to be in London to cheer on Tom from the roadside.
Father and son combinations in elite marathon running are rare, but the Anderson family’s ultimate target is to beat the impressive PBs of the Norman clan from Altrincham. Jeff Norman ran 2:12:50 in the 1970s and represented Britain in the Olympics while son Dave has won the Manchester Marathon and has a PB of 2:18:34.