Dewi Griffiths got a taste of what he can expect when he makes his London Marathon debut in seven weeks time as he finished fourth in the Vitality Big Half.
While Mo Farah was sprinting it out with Belgium’s Bashir Abdi and Kenya’s 2017 London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru up the road, the Welshman found himself running on his own as he finished two minutes back in 63 min, 17 sec.
A further 50 seconds back was the two-time London Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang in sixth, while fellow Welshman Josh Griffiths was 10th in 65:36. He will be joining Griffiths in chasing World Championship selection for Doha in London on Sunday, 28 April.
“It was pretty windy and after the first two miles I found myself running on my own,” said Griffiths, second to Farah in the British Half Marathon Championships which were incorporated into the event.
“It was good to get a feel for the London Marathon course by running over parts of it and I feel I’m in a good place at the moment,” said Griffiths, who set his half-marathon best of 61:33 in Cardiff in 2017.
“I ran high 62s in the Great North Run at around the same time before my marathon debut in Frankfurt in 2017. I’ve had a good training spell in Colorado with Steve Jones and I’ve got a couple of races to go before I put it all on the line in London.
“It is the official trial race for the World Championships and it would be great to represent Team GB in Doha. The race will also be in the qualifying time-frame for the Tokyo Olympics, so a good time could help towards that goal.”
Farah will be chasing more Olympic golden glory in Tokyo, but Griffiths feels he could well join him in Japan if he can carry forward his current good form and confidence. His marathon debut saw him run 2:09.49 in Frankfurt, yet he had to run the final 5K with cramp in his hamstring.
He hit a tough patch of injuries after that, but is now back to his very best form in both training and racing. More importantly, he wants to get back on the marathon start line and go even faster.
“If I hadn’t had problems with my hamstring in Frankfurt I feel I could have gone faster. Instead of finishing in the 2:09s, it could have been a 2:08 time,” said Griffiths.
“That’s the exciting part. If I can get to the start line in London in this sort of shape then who knows what might be possible.
“I’m running the Cardiff Bay 10K and then a leg of the National 12 Stage Relays for Swansea Harriers in the build-up to London and I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead.”
Charlotte Arter went one better than Griffiths by finishing third in the women’s race, picking up the bronze medal in the British Championships as a result.
She went within 2 min, 04 sec of the Welsh record she set in Barcelona last month of 69:40 as she ended 66 second behind the winner and defending champion, Charlotte Purdue.
“That was tough. I went out hard, died in the middle and then I came back strong in the last couple miles to nab the final spot on the podium,” said Arter.
Vitality Big Half, London
Men: 1, Mo Farah 61 min, 15 sec; 2, Bashir Abdi 61:16; 3, Daniel Wanjiru 61:17; 4, Dewi Griffiths 63:17; 5, Chris Thompson 63:41; 6, Wilson Kipsang 64:07; 7, Jon Mellor 64:31; 8, Mustafa Mohamed 64:42; 9, Mick Clohisey 64:58; 10, Jack Gray 65:01; 10, Josh Griffiths 65:36
Women: 1, Charlotte Purdue 70:38; 2, Steph Twell 71:33; 3, Charlotte Arter 71:44
Other Welsh: 6, Clara Evans 73:13; 17, Alaw Beynon-Davies 80:12