London marathon: Can Merrien stand the pace

By Blog on the Box on Apr 24, 12 01:20 PM

GET used to athletes getting a bit up themselves in a summer of self-love after Lee Merrien's performance in the London Marathon.

Merrien was the first British man across the line in 17th place but his time of 2:13.41 was outside the Olympic "A" standard of 2:12.00.

His excuse? He told the BBC that the pacers - non-competitors there to run with the athletes - were to blame.

He said they were too fast at the beginning of the race meaning he was racing alone for the rest of it.

He said: "I'm pretty gutted even though it's a personal best. The pacemakers set off maybe just a fraction quick and after six or seven miles I found myself in front of our group and forcing the pace. After 20 miles I was on my own and it was pretty tough into a headwind."

Pacers are an indulgence for runners who need someone to blame when things go wrong.

You know what I would like to see happen in the Olympics later this year:: A pacer deciding he's in with a chance and heading for the finish line instead of dropping out.

That would set the cat amongst the pigeons but it would be fun.

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