Olympic Dreams: Louise Damen holds 2012 marathon hope

Hampshire-based runner Louise Damen will continue her quest for Olympic selection by heading out to Japan for the Yokohama marathon on 20 November.

The 28-year-old teacher has run only one marathon before and is hoping to be one of three women selected in Team GB for the 2012 London Olympics.

Damen achieved the qualifying time by running under two hours and 31 minutes and now hopes to make the team.

"It's very competitive," Winchester's Damen told BBC Radio Solent.

Four women have already achieved the qualifying time, including Jo Pavey, so Damen must hope she impresses in her next two races and gets named in the team.

She will run in Yokohama and the London marathon in the spring before they select the team.

"It's not ideal to have to run three marathons before the Olympics but needs must really," added Damen. "I wouldn't normally recommend running three in a year."

Damen's first marathon was in London earlier this year and it was a huge learning curve for the runner.

"The level of fatigue in the final few miles was something I had never experienced before," said the former Bournemouth Athletics Club runner.

"I can't really describe it, it is something you have to experience for yourself. The mental fatigue also takes a while to get over."

Selection for the marathon team is further complicated by the wealth of talent in this country with up to seven women expected to run the qualifying time.

Who gets picked could well come down to who runs the fastest times.

"The problem is there are number of women who are capable of running the qualifying time and there are four of us who have run inside the mark already with two or three to come," she added.

Louise Damen is one of BBC Radio Solent's featured athletes as part of 'Olympic Dreams' in the build-up to London 2012.