Andy Vernon to make his marathon debut in London

British athletes 2019 London Marathon

Andy Vernon will make his debut over 26.2 miles at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

The 33-year-old, who has won medals in European Championships on the track and cross-country, has decided that now is the time to make the step up to marathon running.

Andy (handicap -6.4) will join a star-studded British field in both the men’s and women’s races at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon which will be used as the selection race for the World Championships in Doha which begin in September.

Vernon said: “It felt like the right time in my career to move up to the marathon. I feel like I am getting a little bit slower on the track. It’s tough to make teams, it’s tough to do well at championships, especially over 10,000m. For that reason, I thought if I don’t do it now, I won’t ever do it.”

Joining Vernon in the men’s race is Callum Hawkins (handicap -6.4) , who got 2019 off to a good start with a 10k PB in Valencia at the weekend finishd fourth in the 2017 World Championships. Dewi Griffiths (handicap -6.6), who ran 2:09:49 at the Frankfurt Marathon in 2017, will also line up and, of course, Sir Mo Farah (handicap -7.9)  who was the first elite athlete announced for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Other Brits confirmed to run are Jonny Mellor (handicap -5.8) , Tsegai Tewelde (handicap -2.8) , Andy Davies (handicap -2.9) , Josh Griffiths (handicap -5.3) , Robbie Simpson (handicap -4.3) and Matt Sharp (handicap -4.4) .

The British women’s field promises to be just as competitive. After a year hampered by injury and illness, Charlotte Purdue (handicap -0.8) will return to the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2019 as will her Aldershot Farnham & District AC clubmate Lily Partridge (handicap -1.8) .

Just one second separates Purdue’s marathon PB of 2:29:23, set at the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, and Partridge’s best time of 2:29:24 which she ran to finish eighth in her first Virgin Money London Marathon last year.

Purdue said: “I want to make the World Championship team for Doha and I want to run a PB at the Virgin Money London Marathon because I think I can go a lot faster than I did in 2017 and I think my World Championship performance proved that. I just haven’t had the right race yet so I’m hoping the London Marathon will be the right race for me.

Tracy Barlow (handicap -1.7)  and Sonia Samuels (handicap -0.7) are the other elite British women confirmed for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.