Olympic places will be up for grabs for British athletes at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon and the fight to secure places on the Team GB flight to Tokyo will be one of the most captivating storylines of the 2020 race.

The British women’s race, in particular, promises to be a thriller with four athletes already having secured the Olympic qualifying time and several more within range of it.

Jess Piasecki, Charlotte Purdue, Steph Twell and Steph Davis all ran inside the qualifying time of 2:29:30 in 2019 and all four will be on the Start Line of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 26 April.

The equation is simple for these four athletes: if they finish in the top two places in the British race, then their ticket to Tokyo 2020 is confirmed. The third remaining place on the Team GB marathon team would then come down to the selectors’ decision.

Purdue is the reigning British champion from last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon where she finished 10th overall in a fantastic time of 2:25:38, which made her then the third fastest Briton of all time.

But last November Piasecki went even quicker, running 2:25:28 to win the Florence Marathon in just her second attempt at the distance and the first time she had completed the 26.2 miles.

Twell ran 2:26:40 in the Frankfurt Marathon last October while Stephanie Davis knocked close to five minutes off her best at the Valencia Marathon last December when she ran 2:27:40. Twell’s time makes her the sixth fastest Briton in history while Davis is the ninth fastest.

Purdue, the defending British champion, said: “My aim is to defend my British title and hopefully make the Olympic team for my first Olympic Games. It’s definitely not going to be easy with the strength in British women’s marathon running at the moment. But I think that is a good thing and I’m happy for it to be a hard race and a hard battle.”

The British men’s field is just as competitive but there is no one in the field who has the qualifying time. Callum Hawkins has been pre-selected by British Athletics for the Olympic Marathon which means there is one definite place up for grabs for the first British man who crosses the line inside the qualifying time of 2:11:30.

Dewi Griffiths is the fastest Brit in the field with his best of 2:09:49 set in Frankfurt in 2017 while Derek Hawkins will be hoping to join brother Callum in Team GB, as he did at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Other notable British names on the entry list include the British 10000m champion Ben Connor, who will be stepping up to the marathon for the first time, and former European Championships 10000m silver medallist Chris Thompson.

Full list of British women

NAME COUNTRY PB
Jess Piasecki GBR 2:25.28
Charlotte Purdue GBR 2:25.38
Steph Twell GBR 2:26.40
Steph Davis GBR 2:27.40
Lily Partridge GBR 2:29.24
Tracy Barlow GBR 2:30.42
Tish Jones GBR 2:31.00
Jenny Spink GBR 2:31.14
Hayley Carruthers GBR 2:32.42
Eleanor Davies GBR 2:33.24
Helen Davies GBR 2:34.06
Rebecca Murray GBR 2:39.37
Alice Wright GBR Debut

Full list of British men

NAME COUNTRY PB
Dewi Griffiths GBR 2:09.49
Chris Thompson GBR 2:11.19
Derek Hawkins GBR 2:12.49
Charlie Hulson GBR 2:14.22
Joshua Griffiths GBR 2:14.25
Nick Earl GBR 2:14.38
Robbie Simpson GBR 2:14.56
Nicholas Torry GBR 2:15.04
Peter Le Grice GBR 2:16.22
Adam Hickey GBR 2:16.56
Aaron Scott GBR 2:16.57
Paul Navesey GBR 2:17.16
Ollie Lockley GBR 2:25.28
Andy Vernon GBR NM
Ben Connor GBR Debut
Josh Lunn GBR Debut