TORONTO. August 20th. Ask Jon Pepper, James Kelly and Stuart Robinson where they want to be next July 27th and they’ll all have the same answer: “GLASGOW!” To have a chance of getting to the Commonwealth Games Marathon at Glasgow 2014, they’ll need to reach the England Athletics qualifying standard of 2:17:00, sometime before April 30th, 2014. That will be their sole focus when they toe the Start Line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on University Avenue, at 8:30am on October 20th.
All three Englishmen have current PBs in the 2:20 to 2:22 range, and are hoping that Toronto’s flat course will give them a big boost forward towards – or past – that magic 2:17 qualifying mark!
To date, Jon Pepper is the speediest, with a best time of 2:20:28, set when he placed 8th overall at the Brighton Marathon in April. He was also the winner at this spring’s Cambridge Half marathon, in 66:15. A member of Brighton Phoenix AC, Jon already has some international and Canadian experience, having placed 10th overall at the World University Cross Country Championships in 2010, when they were held in Kingston, Ontario.
James Kelly’s current marathon PB is 2:21:39, set at the Virgin London Marathon in April. He began his running career at Harvard University, where he captained the cross country team in 2005. After returning to England, he joined Belgrave Harriers AC in 2007, and has been part of their highly-successful National Six Stage Road Relay teams over the past seven years. He’s also continued to excel on the country, enjoying 4 podium finishes in the Surrey County Cross Country Championships and victory in the prestigious South of Thames Cross Country (2009). With his attention now firmly on the roads and the marathon distance, he is looking forward to building on his London outing, and a breakthrough performance of 65:52 over 21.1k at the world-famous Great North Run in Newcastle last Fall.
A native of Blackpool, Lancashire, Stuart Robinson will be running his third marathon at STWM, with high hopes of building on his 2:22:09 PB set in Seville, Spain in February of this year, to at least go under the 2:20 mark.
Jon, James and Stuart are also part of an important “Old World- New World” rivalry that has seen UK Athletics or England Athletics send some of their best developing marathoners to Toronto Waterfront, since 2005, to go up against Canada’s best.