Hallissey earns GB marathon selection


On Saturday night Claire Hallissey noticed maps of the Olympic course lying around the hotel where she was staying, ahead of the London Marathon. At the time she no more than glanced at them but she can now study the route as intensely as she likes, after the 29-year-old was selected to fill the third and final place in the British women's line-up for the Games yesterday afternoon .

"I didn't want to look in too much detail – for superstitious reasons, I guess," said Hallissey, who was the first Briton home in the women's event and, all importantly, crossed the finish line 40 seconds inside the time set by Jo Pavey at last year's marathon.

Yesterday, Dave Webb was also added to the squad – he was chosen to run the men's marathon – bringing to 61 the total of Britons so far selected for the Games – come July, Team GB will be 550 strong.

Like Pavey, Webb did not run on Sunday but unlike Pavey his decision paid off as the time of 2:15.48 he recorded at last year's world championships, in which he finished 15th, proved beyond any of the home runners in London.

Hallissey joins Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi in the women's marathon and will meet up with them in June for a training camp at altitude in the Pyrenees. Until then, Hallissey will train in Virginia in the US, where she has lived since finishing a PhD in mucosal immunology at Bristol University.

"I chopped up tonsils," explained Hallissey, who also has a degree in natural sciences from Cambridge, where she followed in the footsteps of some illustrious Olympians in earning an athletics blue.

"This is my big break in running," she said. "I'm absolutely thrilled, it's what you aspire to – getting on to an Olympic team.

"Obviously I was very happy withmy performance at the London Mara-thon – it went exactly as I was aiming for and hoping for.

"I've done three marathons so far and I've got quicker over each one so it seems like I've found my distance."

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