Watford Athlete Makes Team GB

Watford-born marathon runner Claire Hallissey has been overwhelmed by her first taste of Olympic fever after being named in the Great Britain team for the Olympics.

The 29-year-old was yesterday handed the third and final marathon spot available for the women alongside world record holder Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi following her impressive personal best in Sunday's Virgin London Marathon.

Claire clocked two hours 27 minutes 44 seconds to finish 11th on the capital's streets and book her place at this summer's showpiece.

And the Cambridge graduate, who has a PhD in mucosal immunology from Bristol, admitted the attention her achievement has gained has left her worn out.

``I am definitely looking forward to getting back over there (to the United States, where her husband has a job) and just escaping for a little while,'' said Hallissey, who has been a full-time athlete for one-and-a-half years.

``But at the same time I will be over here during some of my preparations. I think there will be elements of all the hype and interest that will be quite nice and will help with the build-up and help remind me - not that I need much reminding - why I'm putting myself through all the pain of the training.

``I've seen for myself last weekend it can all get a bit much at times and you just want to hide away and get back to your running, going out on those long runs and escaping from everything.

``This is my big break in running and all of the attention and doing all the interviews is something that I am not used to. It's very flattering and it's lovely to get the attention, but at the same time it's quite tiring as well, trying to come up with interesting things to say to people.''

Hallissey's run on Sunday won her selection for Team GB ahead of Jo Pavey, who had the 'A' qualifying standard from last year's race but whose gamble to sit out this year's event in the hope no one was able to better her time backfired.

Hallissey, who admitted she had not yet properly studied the Olympic course for fear of jinxing her selection, went 40 seconds quicker than the time set by Pavey, who will now look to qualify for the Olympics on the track.

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