Charlotte Purdue, one of Britain’s top marathon runners, said her desire to represent her country was “tainted” after being controversially excluded from the Tokyo Olympics.
The 30-year-old, who is in impressive form ahead of Sunday’s London Marathon, was due to secure one of two discretionary British athletics picks for Japan after receiving a medical exemption to miss the Olympic trials in March in due to injury.
However, Purdue says the UKA’s three-person selection panel then received incorrect information about the progress of her recovery from a UKA doctor and, therefore, did not select her for Tokyo.
“There were a few things that I brought up about the whole selection process and some things that were said at the meeting that obviously weren’t true and I was able to prove that they weren’t. were not, ”said Purdue, who was the first Briton to be home to the 2019 London Marathon, where she set a personal best of 2:25:38.
“I had a conversation with the British athletics doctor a few weeks before the trials and the meeting, and explained to him the training I was doing,” she added. “And at the meeting, they said I didn’t do that kind of training and only run 30 minutes a day, which was wrong.”
Purdue said she raised the issue with UKA chief executive Jo Coates, who responded by saying they would look into the matter. UKA did not comment when asked about the situation with Purdue, but rarely does on selection matters.
However, when asked if Purdue would feel comfortable racing for Great Britain in a major championship after all of this, she was blunt and replied, “It has definitely tainted my desire.
“It is obviously an honor to race for Great Britain, but I will not forget this whole year and this situation,” she added. “I was disgusted because I had been thinking about Tokyo for so long.”
Now, Purdue aims to prove the managers wrong – starting with a plan to beat Mara Yamauchi’s best of 2:23:12 on Sunday, which would move her to No.2 on the all-time list at the United Kingdom behind Paula Radcliffe.
Being the first Briton at home in less than 2:29:30 would also secure her place at the world championships in Eugene next year. But she certainly doesn’t take anything for granted.
“If this year has taught me anything, it’s not to pay attention to selection policies because they really don’t mean anything,” she said. “Either way, they’ll choose who they want. So I’m just focusing on Sunday’s race.
When asked what pace she would aim to run, Purdue said, “It depends a lot on the weather. I have this 2:23 in my head from Mara, but I’ll have to make the call with my trainer.
While the weather on Sunday is likely drier than initially expected, elite athletes are still concerned that the expected high winds will make this a much slower race than they would like. But Purdue is optimistic.
“Two years ago I got a huge personal best and it was a very good day so a repeat of that would be nice. The training had gone well before this race so I was obviously excited. to run then and now on Sunday as well. “
It helps that Purdue’s form over the past several months has also been excellent with a victory in the Vitality Big Half in August, setting a course record of 69:51, followed by a third place finish in the Great North Run in 68. : 49 despite intensive marathon training. . “I feel like I just want to get back to my best level, really,” she said. “Like in 2019, when I was running really well.
“But I feel like I deserve a place on this team,” she added. “I could have run well in Tokyo but I hope I run well on Sunday instead.”
Meanwhile, Kenyan world record holder Brigid Kosgei, who seeks to become only the second person after Germany’s Katrin Dörre-Heinig between 1992 and 1994 to win three consecutive London marathons in the women’s race, played down the prospect of a course record. .
Kosgei stressed that she only competed in the Olympics eight weeks ago, so it wouldn’t be possible to be at her best. “I love London, so I would really love to do that here,” she said. “I am ready because I have prepared well because I want to defend my title.”