Brothers in marathon battle for place in Rio

Two Leeds City athletes, Derek Hawkins and Susan Partridge, line up in the London Marathon with hopes of securing a place in the British Olympic team.

Derek Hawkins

The first two British runners will be automatically selected for Rio as long as they have achieved the qualifying mark of two hours and 14 minutes.

Scott Overall (Blackheath & Bromley) and Derek Hawkins’s younger brother, Callum, are the two Britons to have the standard during the qualifying period. Derek Hawkins has a recent half-marathon time of 63-53 and has a marathon best of 2-14-15 when finishing ninth for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games.

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It is an intriguing prospect that if Derek Hawkins is selected, it could be at the expense of his brother, though it is possible that both could make the team for Rio. Other strong contenders include Chris Thompson (Aldershot) and Lee Merrien (Aldershot).

The pursuit of Olympic selection is a race within a race, with Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes expected to dominate the Marathon led by defending champion Eliud Kipchoge and world record-holder Dennis Kimetto.

The women’s race follows a similar pattern. Sonia Samuels (Sale) and Alyson Dixon (Darlington) are the only two British athletes with the qualifying mark of 2-31 with Partridge just outside on 2-31-31 in Chicago in October.

Like Hawkins, Partridge is a Scot and was sixth for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games.

She has also competed in the World and European Championships and has a best of 2-30-46 so is in with a realistic chance. A recent half-marathon of 71-51 at Prague and a blistering road relay leg last week indicate that she is coming into top form.

Other British contenders are Freya Ross (Edinburgh) and Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot), while in the Under-13 race Leeds City’s Tommy Dawson defends his title.