Marathon man Webb hopes numbers add up

Competitors Mike Burrett (City of Leeds) and Elly Tarus in the plusnet Yorkshire Marathon pass York Minster in the 2013 race.
Competitors Mike Burrett (City of Leeds) and Elly Tarus in the plusnet Yorkshire Marathon pass York Minster in the 2013 race.
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By day, David Webb is a chartered accountant. By night, he is a father to his 18-month old child. That leaves only the crack of dawn when Webb can head out for a run.

Tomorrow, the 32-year-old amateur who just three years ago finished 15th at the world championships en route to selection for the Olympics, puts his limited training schedule to the test in the second annual Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.

“I’ve had to adapt my training since my wife and I had a child,” says Webb, who was born in Leeds, trained with the city’s athletics club for two decades and attended Boston Spa School.

“I used to run twice a day, but now I can only do a 90-minute run every morning. Then I’ve got to go and do a full day’s work and I’m working 50-, 60-hour weeks sometimes, but at least I’m home for family time in an evening.

“It works for me. I’ve got an active mind so I don’t think I’d manage being a full-time athlete.”

Webb appreciates that a truncated training schedule means the task he faces in York tomorrow, against up-and-coming full-time Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes, is a tough one.

His personal best of two hours 15 minutes 21 seconds set last year in Frankfurt is just two minutes slower than the 2:13.31 Edwin Korir ran in winning the Yorkshire Marathon last year, which points to Webb at least challenging tomorrow.

As a one-off race, a new personal best and a sustained challenge is certainly within Webb’s capabilities, no matter the demands on his time.

A good performance in York may also kickstart his bid to finally fulfil his Olympic ambition, two years after a stress fracture in his back forced him to miss London 2012.

“It’s too late in the day for me to go full-time,” he says. “But I’m happy with what I’ve achieved; 15th in the worlds, selected for the Olympics.

“I’d never rule out another shot at the Olympics. The key is staying healthy, but as you get older it takes longer to recover, and marathons are like heavyweight boxing bouts, you can only do two a year because it takes so long to get over them.”

Ethiopia’s Girma Assefa and Kenya’s Cosmas Kigen are among the favourites for the men’s race, while Frashiah Nyambura Waithaka of Kenya is favoured in the women’s.