Mo Farah and Eilish McColgan lead domestic challenge at London Marathon

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Farah and McColgan will be joined by Emile Cairess, Jess Piasecki, Charlotte Purdue, Steph Davis, Sam Harrison, Chris Thompson and Weynay Ghebresilasie at April 23 event

Mo Farah and Eilish McColgan will hope for better luck ahead of the TCS London Marathon in three months’ time. On the eve of last October’s race, Farah was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury while McColgan pulled out amid concerns that she needed more time to sort out her mid-race fuelling strategy.

Due to the event reverting to its traditional spring date, though, it means they have not had long to wait to have another crack at it. For Farah it will be one of his final races in what he admits is his last year as a competitive athlete, while McColgan will hope to make a dent in the UK all-time rankings on her much-anticipated debut over 26.2 miles.

“I was really disappointed to miss last October’s TCS London Marathon because of injury,” said Farah. “But I’m so happy the event has returned to April for 2023 as I don’t have to wait a whole year to get another chance. The London Marathon has always been special to me and I am looking forward to being back out there on the roads of my home town.”

Farah added he will retire after 2023 and, on whether London could be his final race, he said: “Who knows? Honestly, it depends on my body. As I’ve always said, it’s been an amazing career. But for me to be taking part in the London Marathon, it’s quite a big deal, so I’m very excited.”

Farah, the multiple Olympic and world champion, is the fastest British marathon runner in history. He has raced the full London Marathon on three occasions with a best place of third in 2018, the same year he won the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a European record of 2:05:11.

Mo Farah (Mark Shearman)

McColgan’s mum Liz famously won the 1996 London Marathon and the Commonwealth 10,000m champion has spent recent months trying out various fuelling techniques.

She said: “It was disappointing not to have taken part in last year’s TCS London Marathon. I had such a fantastic summer on the track and the plan was always to follow that with my marathon debut in London. But I have been able to take further time to fully prepare for running a marathon and April will come around very quickly so I am extremely excited.

“The London Marathon is obviously a special event for me and my family with my mum having won the 1996 race and I just can’t wait to experience it for myself.”

British athletes joining McColgan on the start line include the second and fourth-fastest Britons of all time over the marathon distance – Jess Piasecki and Charlotte Purdue.

Piasecki ran 2:22:25 at last year’s Seville Marathon to go No.2 in the British all-time rankings behind only Paula Radcliffe and will be making her London Marathon debut. The 32-year-old represented Great Britain at the 2022 World Championships in Oregon and is previous winner of the Florence Marathon.

Jess Piasecki, Eilish McColgan, Sam Harrison (Mark Shearman)

Purdue is the fourth-ranked British female marathon runner in history with 2:23:26 which she set at the 2021 London Marathon. The 31-year-old is another athlete who was frustrated by having to withdraw from last year’s London Marathon after catching a sickness bug before the race and withdrawing on the morning of the event.

Steph Davis, the 11th-fastest British woman of all time, who competed in the marathon for Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, also returns to London for the first time since 2019, while Samantha Harrison, who was sixth in both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships 10,000m last year, is also in the field.

Charlotte Purdue (Mark Shearman)

There is an exciting British marathon debut in the elite men’s race in the shape Emile Cairess, who gained experience by being pacers at last year’s race.

The 25-year-old comes into the event after winning silver behind Jakob Ingebrigtsen at the European Cross Country Championships in Turin in December. He is also the joint-holder of the British 10km record alongside Farah with 27:44 and the fourth-fastest British man in history over the half marathon with 60:32.

READ MORE: Emile Cairess relishes pacing duties

The first British finisher at last year’s TCS London Marathon, Weynay Ghebresilasie, returns, as do Tokyo Olympians Chris Thompson and Ben Connor, although Marc Scott’s name is surprisingly not on the list of entries.

Weynay Ghebrsilasie (Mark Shearman)

2023 TCS London Marathon – British elite men

  • Sir Mo Farah (PB2:05:11 UK record)
  • Dewi Griffiths (2:09:49)
  • Chris Thompson (2:10:52)
  • Ben Connor (2:11:20)
  • Joshua Griffiths (2:11:28)
  • Luke Caldwell (2:11:33)
  • Weynay Ghebresilasie (2:11:57)
  • Phil Sesemann (2:12:10)
  • Charlie Hulson (2:13:34)
  • Andrew Heyes (2:13:52)
  • Adam Craig (2:13:58)
  • Ross Braden (2:14:32)
  • Nick Earl (2:14:38)
  • Nigel Martin (2:15:19)
  • Ronnie Richmond (2:16:59)
  • Nicholas Bowker (2:17:35)
  • Alex Milne (2:17:40)
  • Josh Lunn (2:17:59)
  • Fraser Stewart (2:18:40)
  • Matthew Dickinson (2:19:23)
  • Emile Cairess (Debut)

2023 TCS London Marathon – British elite women

  • Jess Piasecki (PB: 2:22:27)
  • Charlotte Purdue (2:23:26)
  • Stephanie Davis (2:27:16)
  • Rosie Edwards (2:31:56)
  • Samantha Harrison (2:32:22)
  • Eilish McColgan (Debut)

The full men’s elite field, including international athletes, as well as the elite men’s and women’s wheelchair fields will be announced on Wednesday (Feb 1) with the full elite women’s field named on Thursday (Feb 2).

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