Hallissey in line for Olympic selection
April 23, 2012 09:35 am
Britain's Claire Hallissey is hoping her "all or nothing" performance in the Virgin London Marathon is worth a place in this summer's Olympics.
Hallissey, 29, set a new personal best of two hours 27 minutes 44 seconds to finish 11th in a race won by defending champion Mary Keitany. And crucially that time was 40 seconds quicker than the one set by compatriot Jo Pavey in last year's race, leaving Hallissey the favourite to join Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi when the marathon team is finalised.
A delighted Hallissey, who has a PhD in immunology, said: "There was no point just turning up and running a conservative race and trying to get a slight personal best. It was all or nothing. I have done everything I came here to do, but it's in the selectors' hands. It would be fantastic (to be picked). A home Olympics is a chance of a lifetime."
She added: "I just really enjoyed it and everything seemed to click into place.
"It's always difficult in the marathon, you can never tell until you get near the finish if you are going to maintain the pace. It was the fastest I have ever gone out and I could feel the extra pace and it did hurt."
Pavey insisted she had made the right decision not to race, feeling she would have been unable to recover fully in time for the Olympics.
"People maybe misunderstood why I didn't run in London," she told Press Association Sport. "I would have liked to but I wanted to be in the best shape for the Olympics and the recovery time is not long enough for me to perform well at the Games."
In the men's race, Lee Merrien was the first British man across the line in 17th, but his time of 2:13.41 was outside the Olympic 'A' standard of 2:12.00.
Scott Overall, who is the only British man qualified for the Olympics after finishing fifth in Berlin last year, was acting as a pacemaker for his compatriots but dropped out after 15 kilometres with a minor hamstring strain and none of the other Britons closely following his pace.
"I'm pretty gutted even though it's a personal best," Merrien said. "The pacemakers set off maybe just a fraction quick and after six or seven miles I found myself in front of our group and forcing the pace. After 20 miles I was on my own and it was pretty tough into a headwind."
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