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Police Officer Looking to Nick Olympic Place At London Marathon

Thursday 19th April 2012

London 2012 hopeful Benedict Whitby has told LBC 97.3 he might not be able to forget the day job if a protester interrupts this weekend's London Marathon.

The City of London Police Officer needs to run the qualifying time in this Sunday's race to be picked for the British Team at the Olympics this summer.

But he's told us any Boat Race type interruption might distract him!

"I guess you can only say if it happens but it's always a worry for a big organiser that they'll have protests like that. I remember the Olympic Marathon when the leader was taken out few years back its a problem for the organisers but as a runner you have to deal with it as and when at that point. Very difficult to say how would deal with it and what time of the race it came. If it was in the first mile might have a bit of energy but in the 25th might not be able to do anything. London Marathon have a great history of organising fantastic events, you can't control crowd but they'll have put consideration to all those factors."

Whitby, who runs for Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow club, has his eyes on one of the 2 British men's Olympic spots for London 2012 still available - Scott Overall is going to the Games already and will be a pacesetter in London on Sunday. 

The 35 year old also been backed by his employers who've allowed him 16 weeks unpaid leave to train. "Fantastic really good. The position I'm in I'm able to work in 9-5 office position its still hard work and v busy but I'm not doing shifts, which is fantastic. Lates, nights and weekends makes it hard to get consistency in training. I'll be back in the office on Monday morning hopefully with success but if not carrying on my police career."

It comes as double Olympian and fellow Marathon runner Liz Yelling has told LBC 97.3 she doesn't think Paula Radcliffe will compete at London 2012 unless fully fit.

The World record holder has failed to win a medal in two Olympics and ran her slowest ever time over 26 miles in Vienna last weekend.

"I've trained with Paula since I was 10. I've been through all of her calamities. I knew she was not in great shape before Vienna but I don't think that's a reflection of what she's capable of. It was a badly timed race for her, she'd been ill and on antibiotics. She will know the week or month before London (if she is fit) and I don't think she will put herself in a position where it can turn out like her last two Olympics."

38-year-old Welling is also back to fitness after a giving birth and a nightmare when she fell in Beijing. She's now looking to join her long term training partner in the British squad with a good performance at this Sunday's Virgin London Marathon.

"I know I'm better that what I've done and I know there's more in me, and I don?t think I've proven to myself, no-one else cares really, I want to prove to myself I'm better than 26th place in the Olympics. It would be nice to have that one last chance to prove that and to have that experience of the Olympics on home soil is just a huge draw. It would be something so magical and just so lovely to be a part of."

There's only one spot left for the British women at London 2012 - with Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi already picked. Jo Pavey currently has the fastest qualifying time but she is not running in London this weekend so its Yelling, third in the UK rankings over the last 12 months and 63 seconds quicker than her closest selection rival Claire Hallissey running for a place in Monday's team selection.