Brothers Callum and Derek Hawkins, Tsegai Tewelde, Alyson Dixon and Sonia Samuels won Olympic selection after impressive performances in last Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon.
As part of London Marathon’s continued commitment to improving British marathon running, all five athletes will now be given £5,000 to support their training in the final months leading up to Rio.
“It has been an amazing few days for me. To run a personal best in such a big event as the London Marathon and qualify for the Olympics was so special and this grant has only added to that.”
Callum’s brother Derek, 26, was given the third and final spot for the men’s marathon after running a PB of 2:12:57 and finishing third Brit on Sunday.
He too will be using the grant to join his brother in Boulder where the pair will prepare for Rio.
He said: “This grant will enable me to get over to Boulder and, importantly, pay for massages and treatments to make sure that I arrive on the start line in Rio fit and healthy. The London Marathon’s support of British distance running is fantastic. I have been on two of the Kenyan training camps that are supported by the London Marathon and this is another example of that.”
Tewelde, 26, who was the surprise package of this year’s Marathon, finishing as the second British man in 2:12:23, said the money would enable him to become a full-time athlete for the months leading up to Rio.
“I am so grateful for the support of London Marathon,” said Tewelde. “In the first instance, they enabled me to win an Olympic spot by allowing me to run - almost as a wildcard - in this year’s race. Now, on top of that, I have received a training grant, which will give me the best chance of performing at my very best in Rio.
“I don’t receive any funding, so this £5,000 is incredibly valuable. It will enable me to become a full-time athlete in the months leading up to the Olympics and to travel abroad for altitude training. Hopefully that will all mean I can run faster than ever in the Olympics.”
Alyson Dixon, 37, who confirmed her place at her first Olympics by finishing as the first Brit in the women’s race, said: “It was a lovely surprise when I found out. People think because you are running at the London Marathon and going to the Olympics that you don’t have to worry about money. But that’s not the case and this money takes away a lot of worries about finding the money for massages, for travel and all the important things.
“I’ve had great help over the years from the London Marathon. This year alone I’ve been to training camps in Kenya and Font Romeu and that has been a big factor in getting me to Rio.”
Sonia Samuels, 36, the second British woman to qualify, added: “There are so many special people and organisations behind the scenes whose input allows me to compete at the sport's highest level. London Marathon is one key organisation whose help I am incredibly thankful for. The funding I have received over recent years has given me the opportunity to train with the world’s best athletes at altitude training camps in Kenya and Font Romeu.
“The additional training grant they have given me will enable me to spend much more time with my coach and his training group who are based in the US, as well as a more sustained period of altitude training than I'm normally able to support. The positive influence of his input, better climate and thinner air will ensure I'm fully prepared to give my very best performance in the heat of Rio.”
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events Ltd, said: “Improving the standard and status of British marathon running was one of the founding pillars of race founders Chris Brasher and John Disley. We are delighted that the five were selected following their performances on Sunday and that these training grants will help further their final preparations for Rio.”