Josh Griffiths’ incredible 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon performance has earned him a place in British Athletics’ largest marathon squad since 1993 for the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
Griffiths has never previously represented his country, but made waves last Sunday when starting off as a club runner, only to beat a large proportion of the elite athletes and finish 13th in the race.
That saw him become the first Brit under the World Championship qualifying time when clocking in 2:14.49, now part of a six-strong British squad to take to the start line on August 6.
Griffiths told British Athletics: “The goal for me was to try and run the Welsh standard for the Commonwealth Games of 2:16:00 – obviously that is the same time as the qualifier for the World Championships, but the overall goal was to get that time in.
“To come in the first two British athletes and qualify for the World Championships is just something that never crossed my mind at all – I can’t believe it.”
Only twice before in 1983 and 1993 has Britain sent six marathon runners to a World Championships, with the six taking to the start line at London’s very own Tower Bridge for a rare home competition.
That includes Rio 2016 Olympian Callum Hawkins, who finished ninth in Brazil in a time of 2:11.52, and became the first person selected to represent British Athletics when he was pre-selected for the Marathon in December.
There is also room in London for Robbie Simpson, who finished narrowly behind Griffiths on Sunday to secure his place in a time of 2:15.04 – confirmation of a target he has been desperate to reach.
“It has been a goal of mine and I am really happy to have made the team,” he said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I don’t think a lot of people expected me to make the team, and maybe I didn’t think I could but I knew if I ran a good tactical race (at the London Marathon), I would have a chance.”
The 26.2 mile route will begin at Tower Bridge, once again taking in all the sights of the capital before finishing off in central London.
There will also be another Rio 2016 Olympian taking to the start line in the shape of Alyson Dixon, one of three female runners expected to get underway in the capital.
Believing she has a point to prove, Dixon has been representing her country ever since 2011, but feels that this could be her time to impress after being hampered in previous outings.
She said: “I got my first major British vest back in 2011 at the Daegu World Championships and I think I’ve got some unfinished business, as I went into those championships with what turned out to be three broken bones in my foot and totally underperformed as a result.
“Since then I’ve improved by six or seven minutes, so I’m really looking forward to getting out there in London to try and give it a really strong run.
“I’d love to go sub-2:28, but just to be in the UK and competing at a home World Championships will be fantastic and I’m really looking forward to standing on start line with Charlotte [Purdue] alongside me.”
But Dixon and Charlotte Purdue won’t be alone come August 6, with Tracy Barlow also entered in the competition.