Team GB At The Olympics: Who Will Be Representing Great Britain In The Marathon And 50km Walk At The Rio 2016 Games?
An introduction to the Team GB athletes who'll be flying the flag for us over 26.2 miles.
It’s now been announced who will be representing Team GB in the marathon and 50km walking event at Rio 2016 this summer. The names of the marathon runners, in no particular order, are – Callum Hawkins, Derek Hawkins, Tsegai Tewelde, Alyson Dixon, and Sonia Samuels. Dominic King will be walking, hopefully to glory, in the 50m walk.
In the history of the Olympics, Team GB have won five marathon medals. The last person to win a medal for Great Britain in this event was Charlie Spedding, who won the bronze at Los Angeles in 1984. Britain have never won gold in the Olympic Marathon but have won four silvers, with Basil Heatley’s effort at Tokyo 1964 being the most recent of these successes.
In terms of the 50km walking event, Britain actually has a surprisingly good record. Briton Tommy Green won the inaugural 50km Olympic race walk at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932. Technically speaking, Team GB are the most successful nation ever in this event – with three gold medals, one silver, and one bronze. This statistic can be misleading though because, in actual fact, Britain hasn’t produced a 50km walking medalist since Paul Nihill scooped silver in 1964.
Callum Hawkins, younger brother of Derek Hawkins (who will also be going to Rio 2016), qualified for the Olympics in Brazil by finishing under the qualifying time and as one of the top two Brits at this year’s London Marathon. He finished eighth at the London Marathon, with a new personal best time of 2:10:52.
With strong competition in the Olympic Marathon coming from the traditional long-distance running powerhouses of East Africa, Hawkins will have to run faster than he’s ever run before to get himself a medal. Whether he can do this remains to be seen but, here at Mpora, we’d like to wish him all the best. When he’s not representing Team GB at Olympic-level, the Scot (23) runs for Kilbarchan Athletics Club.
Derek Hawkins – Marathon
Derek Hawkins (26), older brother of Olympic-bound Callum Hawkins, finished as the third fastest Brit at the London Marathon earlier this year – in 14th. Although he missed out on automatic entry to the team with his final placing, Hawkin’s time of 2:12:57 was under the qualifying mark of 2:14.00. Because of this, the British selectors awarded D. Hawkins a spot on the plane to Rio 2016.
Not many people have had the honour of competing in the Olympics with their brother, so the presence of a sibling double-act in the form of the Hawkins brothers will be well worth a watch. This particular member of the Hawkins family runs for Leeds City/Kilbarchan Athletics Club.
Tsegai Tewelde – Marathon
Competing in the Rio 2016 men’s marathon for Team GB, alongside the already-discussed Hawkins brothers, will be Tsegai Tewelde. Tewelde secured qualification for the Olympics by finishing the London Marathon as the second fastest Brit – in 12th, with a time of 2:12:23. His story is genuinely remarkable.
Tewelde (26), who runs for Shettleston Harriers, was born in Eritrea. His forehead still bears the scars of a landmine explosion which occurred next to him, and killed his friend, when he was just eight. In 2008, he claimed asylum in Scotland and was granted it after authorities ruled he was likely to face persecution back home. Tewelde’s London Marathon performance, that bagged Olympic qualification, was his first ever run over that distance. Watch out for him in Rio.
Alyson Dixon – Marathon
Alyson Dixon (37), who runs for Sunderland Strollers, is going to be one of two females competing for Team GB in this summer’s Olympic marathon. The daughter of a marathon runner, Dixon joined her local club when she was 11 purely so she could go on the club trip to a place called Flamingo Land.
Dixon’s personal best for the marathon distance is 2:29:30. She competed for England at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, but was unable to finish that race due to injury. Her website is adorned with the slogan “Marathon running: it’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.”
Sonia Samuels – Marathon
Sonia Samuels (36), alongside Alyson Dixon, will be one of two females representing Team GB in the Rio 2016 marathon this summer. Samuels competed in the marathon event at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow.
Samuels, who has a personal best time of 2:28:04, has dreamed about being an Olympian since she was 13. In 2011, she took time out of her full-time teaching job as a languages teacher to pursue her Olympic dream. In Rio this summer, Samuels will be making that dream a reality.
Dominic King – 50km Walking
Dominic King (32) is a walker who competed for England in the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games. King has already participated in one Olympics previous to Rio 2016, with an appearance at London 2012 already under his belt.
King, from Colchester in Essex, has a personal best in the 50km walk of 4:06:34. As things stand, he will be Britain’s sole representative in the walking events.
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