Josh Griffiths and Andrew Davies: Welsh pair carrying British marathon hopes

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How Wales shocked the marathon world

One has no coach, the other's training partner is his dog.

But on Sunday these two Welshmen will be looking to lead Britain's charge in the men's marathon at the World Athletics Championships in London.

So how did Josh Griffiths and Andrew Davies take the marathon world by surprise?

Twenty-three-year-old Griffiths qualified for the team in April. The Swansea Harrier was the first Briton to finish this year's London Marathon, crossing the line in two hours 14 minutes and 49 seconds.

Remarkably, it was the first marathon he had ever run. His second will be at a World Championships.

"Yeah, it's a bit of a dream start to my marathon career to be honest," he told BBC Wales Sport.

"At the London Marathon I was hoping to run under 2:16, which is the Wales Commonwealth Games qualifying time.

"It was going to be a bit of a long shot but it was something I'd trained for for a long time. So I think I shocked a lot of people as well as myself."

Intertoto Cup to the World Athletics Championships

Andrew Davies, 37, was a late call-up to the British team, replacing the injured Robbie Simpson.

He was a late starter in marathon running too, having spent a decade playing football for then-League of Wales side Caersws.

He won the Welsh League Cup three times and even played in Europe, before switching his attention to marathons in 2007.

"I was only doing it early on as a way of keeping fit," he said.

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Welsh club runner Josh Griffiths on 'surreal' World Championship selection

"But as things started getting more serious, I've been trying to get my times down, getting a bit quicker and ultimately getting the bonus of going to a few major championships."

The Welshpool runner featured for Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but this will be his first World Championships.

Fortunately it falls in August - right in the middle of the college PE teacher's summer holidays.

"I don't think I could be a full-time athlete," Davies admits. "I think I'd get a bit bored in the day without a job."

Training alone

Carmarthenshire's Griffiths assumed he would have a job this summer too.

But his performance in London in April has left him dreaming of life as a full-time athlete.

And he still doesn't want a coach.

"I train alone but I like that," he said. "I've got a masters in sports coaching and I do a lot of reading, so I understand what I'm trying to do.

"I think a lot of people make it more complicated than it needs to be - you just need to get out and run."

One man and his dog

Davies does most of his training in the hills of mid-Wales. He believes fell running has given him the strength and mental toughness needed to qualify for his debut World Championships.

Running before and after school, he will often be seen with his terrier dog, Scrappy, by his side.

"She loves coming out with me," he said. "She goes five miles maximum - that's about her limit.

"She's a good training partner mostly - although she does like chasing sheep!"

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London Marathon: Welsh runner Josh Griffiths first British finisher

Griffiths finished 13th at the London Marathon but says that race was all about his time.

This Sunday will be all about position.

"I've got some goals in my head, definitely," he said. "But it's my first World Championships so I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself.

"But I'm not going to be too negative about things either - I'm just looking forward to the race."

Davies says he will be pleased to see a fellow Welshman alongside him and believes it could work to their advantage.

"At the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow I felt like I was making up the numbers, but this time I want to compete," he said.

"We'll be supporting each other. We might get a plan together, work together and hopefully come good on the day."

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