Mara Yamauchi has finished third at the Yokahama marathon, in 2:27:24 which is well within the qualifying standard set by UK Athletics for female athletes to be eligible to be considered for the 2012 Olympic marathon. Now Yamauchi joins Paula Radcliffe (2:23:46 in Berlin) and Jo Pavey (2:28:42 in New York) as having the qualifying standard and I am sure there will be other British women who will stake a claim before the qualifying period closes.
So massive congratulations to Mara. I met her a few months ago on a train on my way for physio treatment in Teddington and she was increadibly polite despite, quite possibly, being a bit put-out to be disturbed by some random bloke on the train while she was enjoying a quiet journey. You can read more about the race here.
And of course this result again throws into sharp and, I have to say, unfavourable contrast, the state of marathoning in this country on the other side of the gender divide. What are the chances of us seeing 4 or 5 men battling for one of the three available places on the start line come summer next year? Not much, I fear.
Update: many thanks to Andrew Cooney (@windsorAndy) for pointing out to me that in fact in the women’s field that are in fact two more women who have achieved the selectors’ standards: Louise Damen (2:30:00 in London) and Claire Hallissey (2:29:27 in Chicago) which means, in Andrew’s words, “The VLM will be a scrap!”
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