GB Marathon Trials: Chris Thompson and Stephanie Davis take Tokyo Olympics spots


A split picture of British Olympic marathon trials winner Chris Thompson (left) and Stephanie Davis (right)
Chris Thompson will be 40 by the time the Tokyo Olympics start, while Stephanie Davis only ran her first marathon three years ago

Chris Thompson and Stephanie Davis qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with victory in the Great Britain marathon trials.

Thompson, 39, finished the Kew Gardens course in two hours 10 mins 50 seconds, 40 seconds inside the qualifying time.

Davis, 30, was the only woman to finish inside the qualifying time, winning in a personal best of 2:27:16.

Ben Connor, 28, will also be in Tokyo after finishing second, having set the qualifying standard in a previous race.

Scotland’s Callum Hawkins, 28, had already secured a spot in the delayed Games this summer and was only on pacemaking duties in London.

Natasha Cockram finished second in the women’s race but was 30 seconds off the qualifying time of 2:29:30.

To qualify for Tokyo, those competing on Friday had to finish inside the top two and have beaten the Olympic qualifying times at any point from January 2019 onwards.

Thompson, who will turn 40 in April, was dropped by the leading trio of Connor, Mo Aadan and Dewi Griffiths by the 30km mark but surged back to regain his place at the front.

Griffiths then dropped back, before Thompson left Connor and Aadan, who finished third, behind, taking a healthy lead into the last lap.

Thompson, whose son Theo was born earlier this week, had time to celebrate, clenching his fists and yelling as he crossed the line to qualify for his second Olympics – having run the 10,000m on the track at London 2012.

“This week has knocked me for six, I’ve been trying to hold it together, but I’ve never felt so much emotion in my life,” Thompson, who won European 10,000m silver in 2010, told BBC Sport.

“After 30 minutes I worked the course out and knew I needed to check back, because those guys needed to be in very good shape to keep up that time.

“After one hour 30 minutes I thought, ‘I’ve messed this up royally or it will turn around quickly’ and then in the last two laps I knew nothing was stopping me.

“I’m 39 for crying out loud – this doesn’t happen.”

Davis, who had already beaten the qualifying time in Valencia in 2019 having only run her first marathon in 2018, took an emphatic victory, surging clear of the rest of the field after the halfway mark.

“I can’t believe it, I’m smiling so much, I’m so delighted,” she said.

“I knew I was in good shape but anything can happen in the marathon and you can’t just rely on it being your day.”

Rosie Edwards finished third in 2:31:56, just in front of Rebecca Gentry, who works as a fitness instructor for home workout company Peloton, in 2:32:01 – five minutes quicker than her previous personal best.

More to follow.

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