Oxford MailATHLETICS: Fernandez thumbs-up for Olympic marathon (From Oxford Mail)

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ATHLETICS: Fernandez thumbs-up for Olympic marathon

Oxford Mail: Paul Fernandez Paul Fernandez

ABINGDON Ambler Paul Fernandez expects the London 2012 Olympic marathon to be a tactical race after experiencing the course.

Fernandez was one of 45 top athletes invited to run a test event on the route, which will take in sights including Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Trafalgar Square, The London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral.

He said: “It is a three-ish loop route, so if you miss the photo opportunity first time round you have two more chances to get your camera out.

“It is a winding course, so I would not expect a world record, but with plenty of cornering it could be a tactical race, with breaks being made off one of the many bends.

“It also has a lovely fast few miles along the Embankment where the speed of the athletes will really show.

“It will be good for spectating as it weaves in and out around the City.”

Fernandez and his fellow runners started at 6am, with the brief to run a three-hour marathon and were cheered on their way by many revellers returning home.

He added: “We had a police escort all the way.

“Even when I went to the toilet around 12 miles the police waited and escorted me as I ran back to the pack – again something you do not get in every run!

“Around 20 miles we decided that Chris Finill should lead the way across the line.

“Chris has run every single London Marathon, and all of those under three hours.

“He is also one of Great Britain’s best ultra runners and is running across America this autumn.

“Chris crossed the line in 2.58.00, then 38 of us crossed in 2.58.40 to 2.58.42 – a photo was needed to give some sort of order.

“However, this did not matter as our mission had been completed successfully and we had all had a great morning.”

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