London Marathon 2012: Ben Whitby aiming to earn Olympic spot

Officer Whitby needs to get his timing right in London Marathon



22:02 GMT, 21 April 2012

On his beat: London policeman Ben Whitby is hoping he can qualify for the Olympics

On his beat: London policeman Ben Whitby is hoping he can qualify for the Olympics

Ben Whitby will find out today if he
will be an Olympic athlete this summer on the streets of London, or just
helping to police them.

The City of London Police officer
goes in the London Marathon knowing he must cut his personal best by
more than three minutes and finish under 2hrs 12mins to qualify for a
place on the Great Britain team.

If he does not, he will still have
an important role at the Games, but on the other side of the barriers,
guarding a route that runs through the centre of his patch.

'It's a bit all or nothing, isn't it' he said. 'You can't change it, though, you have to deal with it.

'Obviously, I know sections of the
course very well, particularly the stretch between 13 and 17 miles,
because it goes through the area where I work.

'It has become very familiar but, to be honest, living in London, there's a lot of the course I know. I've run extended sections of it on a regular basis.'

He will be helped by a familiar face, in the shape of Scott Overall, who achieved the qualifying time in Berlin last year and has agreed to pace the London race in a bid to help the likes of Whitby and Lee Merrien to do the same.

'Scott's a training partner and we trained together a lot before the Berlin Marathon,' said Whitby.

'That was a bitter-sweet experience, because I was annoyed at myself for the way I ran but I was really glad for him, both for the run and for him getting the qualifying time.'

London Marathon Route: 2012