14 Oldpark Terrace, Belfast BT14 6NN

Virgin London Marathon 2011: Preview

 London Marathon champions Tsegaye Kebede and Liliya Shobukhova will look to extend their leads at the top of the World Marathon Majors leaderboards when they defend their London titles in the British capital on Sunday, 17 April.

But our eyes won’t be on them…
 
In the men’s event, Jim Benson will be looking for a time around or under 2 hours 40 minutes.

Forget Tsegaye Kebede. It's Jim Benson we're interested in.

Jim has a good record on the London route (2.39.22 in 2010 and a PB of 2.38.48 in 2009) but has been hit by thyroid problems and heavy colds during this year’s build up so we look forward to seeing how he gets on.
 
Other harriers competing in the men’s event include Gerry McNamara, who has been setting pb’s at all distances this year.

If ever anyone deserved a “sub 3”, it’s Gerry who may well be shadowing club mates Mary Rea (offical pacemaker) and Greg McClure around the course.

Gerry is going for Sub 3

Greg is consistently under 3 hours for the marathon (pb 2.57.40) and will be looking for a good strong performance this weekend as his recent performances from 5km to Half Marathon, show he’s in great form.

More importantly, London will be Greg’s 49th marathon. His 50th will be the Belfast City Marathon on May Day. A huge achievement and one is which is sure to draw the admiration of his fellow runners.
 
In the women’s event,  North were looking forward to a strong showing, both individually and as part of the club/team competition.

However, with Breege Connolly and Sharon Bird opting for the Edinburgh Marathon in May, all eyes will be on Lisa Sturgeon.

Breege Connolly is opting for Edinburgh rather than London

Like Gerry, Lisa (pb 3.03.18) will be looking to break the magical 3 hour mark this time around but she hasn’t had the perfect build up this campaign due to illness.

However, this may well work to Lisa’s benefit as she could well be fresher than most on the start line.
 
Occasional training partner, Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (Abbey AC) has been flying in training and in recent races. We look forward to seeing Gladys get what she deserves.
 
Best of luck to one and all.