Richmond RUNFEST team to host Tokyo Marathon trial
Olympic Games selection will be decided in Kew Gardens on Friday 26 March
You'll want to book a WFH day, or at least a late start and an early alarm call on Friday (26 March). Why? Because you won't want to miss a minute of the live streaming of the Müller British Athletics Marathon and 20km Walk Olympic Trials at Kew Gardens, London.
We've all got used to what passes for 'normal' in these odd times. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will now be held from 30 July to 8 August 2021 – probably with very few, mainly Japanese, spectators due to the travel restrictions. It may be a very different Games but the athletes are still laser-focused on Olympic medals. But first, they have to get into the team.
Richmond RUNFEST are proud and experienced hosts of the Olympic selection races that will supply those exclusive Tokyo flight tickets. The trial races will be held behind closed doors on a specially-designed loop course, entirely within the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Small but select fields will contest the races in a Covid-secure setting. The first two eligible athletes in each individual trial event, who hold an Olympic qualifying standard, will earn automatic selection for Tokyo. The men's and women's 20km Walk trial starts at 6:00am and the Marathon trial begins at 8:00am. The 20km walk qualifying times to watch for are 1:21:00/1:31:00 respectively. In the marathon, the athletes' targets are 2:11:30/2:29:30.
Ben Connor (Derby) already has the Olympic Marathon standard with a time of 2:11.20 at the Virgin Money London Marathon last October. He will be seeking one of the top two positions to earn an automatic selection. Other experienced hopefuls include Dewi Griffiths (Swansea) and Chris Thompson (Aldershot) while Mohamud Aadan (Thames Valley Harriers) will be making an exciting marathon debut after spending time high altitude training in Kenya.
The women's marathon trial includes Stephanie Davies (Clapham Chasers) – who's already bagged 2:27:40 at Valencia in 2019. She will be pressured by Lily Partridge (Birchfield Harriers), Sarah Inglis (Lothian), and the 2020 Virgin Money Elite Marathon British Champion, Natasha Cockram (Micky Morris Racing Team).
Katie Brazier, Competitions and Events Director at British Athletics, said: “Although the event will be held behind-closed-doors, we are delighted the race walks and the marathon will be streamed live at britishathletics.org.uk so it can be enjoyed by viewers at home. Our thanks go to all the stakeholders involved in delivering this event under challenging circumstances.”
Tom Bedford, Race Director of Müller British Athletics Marathon and 20km Walk Trials and Richmond RUNFEST, said: “We can't wait to witness these talented athletes race in the richly symbolic Kew Gardens. Each lap passes the Japanese Gardens, reminding them of what's at stake. This will be one of the most unique Marathon & Race Walk races in the world. Please join us for the live streaming of the event, and share with friends, because this event is going to be thrilling to watch."
Richmond RUNFEST is taking entries now for AIR:10K and Richmond Marathon on 15 & 16 May respectively and also for Kew Gardens 10K & Richmond Half Marathon on 11 & 12 September.
Image: Richmond RUNFEST