Merrien relishing marathon challenge

21 April 2012 / 13:46

Olympic hopeful Lee Merrien insists he is relishing the pressure of trying to secure his place in the Games in the last-chance saloon of Sunday's Virgin London Marathon.

Two places on the British team for London are up for grabs, with Scott Overall already selected as the only athlete to so far run under the qualifying time of two hours 12 minutes.

Overall will act as one of the pacemakers on Sunday as he hopes to help the likes of his training partner Benedict Whitby - a City of London police officer - Merrien and Andi Jones achieve the qualifying time.

And although that would mean lowering his personal best by almost two-and-a-half minutes, Merrien is looking forward to the challenge on the streets of the capital.

"There were always only going to be a few places up for grabs," said the 32-year-old from Guernsey, who was eighth in the European Championships in Barcelona in 2010 and 22nd at the World Championships last summer.

"The Olympics is the biggest stage but pressure is good. People raise their game in pressure situations. It's a good thing for me as far as I'm concerned."

As for the assistance of Overall, who was a shock fifth in the Berlin marathon last September on his debut over the distance, Merrien added: "It can only be a help.

"There will be no shortage of people in our group wanting to run 2:11 and having someone who is comfortable running 65:30 at halfway will be great. We'll be pushing each other on."