Amateur runner Josh Griffiths finishes London Marathon faster than any other

Mark Critchley
The Independent
Josh Griffiths, running his first marathon, finished less than 10 minutes behind winner Daniel Wanjiru: Getty
Josh Griffiths, running his first marathon, finished less than 10 minutes behind winner Daniel Wanjiru: Getty

An amateur runner who finished his first London Marathon in a quicker time than any other British male has expressed his delight at qualifying for this year's World Championships.

Josh Griffiths, a runner from the Swansea Harriers club who travelled to the race by Tube, finished 13th in the men's standings on Sunday with a time of two hours 14 minutes 49 seconds, beating elite British runners Robbie Simpson and Andrew Davies.

Griffiths' time ultimately proved enough for him to finish ahead of several Olympians and seal qualification for the British team at the championships in London this summer.

The 23-year-old, who is currently studying for a masters degree in sports coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University, crossed the line approximately 10 minutes after the men's overall winner, Kenya's Daniel Wanjiru.

“I wasn't expecting this. This is all very new to me," Griffiths said. "The goal for me was to try and qualify for the Commonwealth Games team for Wales.

“To actually qualify for the World Championships in the summer is still sinking in. I was hoping to run under 2:16 but I knew it would be a big ask as it's my first marathon but I thought I'd give it a go.

“It felt great all the way round. The crowd really helped carry me around and I was passing people. I still can't quite believe it. It means so much because training is hard and for it to pay off like it has today. I can't believe it.”

Griffiths later admitted that he was not aware of how well he was doing until the finish, when he finally realised that he had passed many experienced international runners along the way.

“I didn't really realise until I crossed the finish line what I had just done,” he told the BBC. “I managed to catch up to the lead British runner at about mile 13, but I was working hard with a group of really elite runners who I have looked up to for a long time.”

London hosts the World Championships in Athletics in August and despite qualifying, Griffiths has played down his chances of winning a medal.

“We'll have to plan and train for that," he said. "It wasn't on my radar at all but it's not something you can turn down and I can't wait to get started. I don't want to get too carried away when it comes to medal hopes.”

Swansea Harriers' members include 2011 world 400 metre hurdles champion Dai Greene, and chairman Colin Davies was delighted with Griffiths' race.

“We're chuffed to think he's done that well, it was nice to see the Swansea Harriers vest appearing on TV so regularly,” he said. “It's quite something, in your first marathon to be the first one home, and it's something he'll always remember.

“He doesn't have a coach, he does his own training, but he runs with a distance group on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I wasn't there - I was in church on Sunday - so I didn't see the race in the morning. I saw the news and picked it up later on to watch the highlights.

“We tend to recognise success in the club, we have an awards evening, so as a result I'm sure something will be done to remember this. When you get this sort of success it does reflect well on the club and the work we put in.”

Additional reporting by PA

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