London Marathon 2017: Jo Pavey targets World Championships qualification

Jo Pavey
Jo Pavey will be running her first marathon in six years in London on Sunday
2017 Virgin Money London Marathon - Sunday, 23 April
Start times: 08:55 BST - Elite wheelchair races, 09:00 - other elite Para races, 09:15 - elite women, 10:00 - elite men and mass races
Watch: Live on BBC Two and BBC One with extra coverage of the elite races and the finish line on Red Button, online, Connected TVs and app
Listen: Live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Radio London
Follow: Text updates and the best of social media on BBC Sport website and app.

British five-time Olympian Jo Pavey is aiming to secure qualification for the 2017 World Championships when she races in Sunday's London Marathon.

Pavey needs to finish as one of the top two British women and run a time of two hours and 36 minutes or better.

She will be at the Worlds in August to receive a bronze medal after her 2007 fourth place was upgraded when Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse failed a doping test.

"I've trained as hard as I could," said the 43-year-old.

"I've had a bit more illness than I would have liked but any busy parent can relate to that and I've kept training consistently."

Pavey will race her first marathon in six years on Sunday. She is up against fellow Britons Alyson Dixon, Louise Damen, Charlotte Purdue and Susan Partridge as they also compete to qualify for the World Championships, which are being held in London from 5-13 August.

With Callum Hawkins already selected, Tsegai Tewelde goes up against 10 other male runners in a bid to make the British team for the summer's event.

Meanwhile, Britain's six-time Paralympic champion David Weir says Sunday's race "could be" his last.

Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele, who is the 5,000m and 10,000m track world record holder, headlines the men's elite race.

The women's elite line-up also includes Kenyan Florence Kiplagat, who won last year's Chicago Marathon, compatriot and Tokyo Marathon champion Helah Kiprop, and Olympic 5,000m champion and fellow Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot, who will make her marathon debut aged 33.

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How does busy mum Jo Pavey train? By bringing the family along!

'There are still people cheating the system'

Drugs cheats like 2016 London marathon champion Jemima Sumgong are "ruining the sport", says European 10,000m champion Pavey.

Olympic gold medallist Sumgong, 32, tested positive for banned substance EPO in an out-of-competition test.

"It is a shame you have got a winner like Sumgong testing positive," Pavey told BBC Sport. "We're glad that she's been caught, that's one good thing to say.

"You want to believe in a good performance, you want to be looking at athletes winning Olympics and big events and admire their performance.

"There is still a lot more work to do to make sure others are going through the same anti-doping methods as we are in the UK - I had people on my doorstep a couple of days ago and that is what you want to see around the world.

"People like her are ruining the sport because every time you see a good performance, you're wondering is that for real or not."

'I am not getting slower'

David Weir
David Weir won six Paralympic gold medals, including four at London 2012

Britain's Weir, 37, will be competing in the race for the 18th year in a row, on the back of winning the Paris Marathon men's wheelchair race earlier in April in one hour 29 minutes, 25 seconds.

He told BBC Sport: "I am just happy to be in good shape to compete. I don't put that pressure on my shoulders [to get the seventh title].

"I wait until the morning to see how I feel - I am in pretty good shape and I am happy with my performance over the past couple of weeks.

"I feel I am not getting any slower - to do that time on that course in Paris, a very rough, hard course. It just gave me a lot of confidence to perform mentally and physically in London.

Asked if it will be his last race, Weir replied: "It could be. But I have enjoyed the training and enjoyed just concentrating on the road, not thinking about being back on the track after the marathon."

In January, the six-time Paralympic champion said he will never wear a Great Britain vest again after an unsuccessful Paralympic Games in Rio last year.

Bekele ahead of the rest

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Whether you're watching or running the London Marathon, it's good conditions for Sunday.

Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele, who won last year's Berlin Marathon in the second-quickest time ever, heads the men's elite field along with Kenya's Stanley Biwott.

"Times are very important," Bekele said. "On the track I don't see anyone out there looking like they can reach my marks at the moment. In the marathon, running two hours, 10 minutes and winning would not give you full happiness. Winning in two hours, four minutes would be a different feeling.

"But it is really challenging. It is almost 10,000 metres pace so it is difficult. I had to learn how to run differently from the track, a different foot strike. Every race, every course is different and I am learning with every one."

Brendan bids farewell

BBC commentator Brendan Foster is set to commentate on his last London Marathon - an event he has covered since its inception in 1981.

The 69-year-old, who will retire after the World Championships in London in August, said: "I'm looking forward to it.

"It's the 37th time I've done it, you'd think I'd be used to it by now. I've done every single one but it's as good as ever.

"The whole city comes alive and is awash with people and colour. It will be exciting at the front end, as it always is."

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Foster chooses his favourite London Marathon moments

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