Augusto's record bid in Hamburg

Augusto's Hamburg bid as championship places beckon in London
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Portugal's Jessica Augusto hopes to break the national marathon record when she runs in Hamburg on Sunday.

It is a big weekend for the marathon and one European woman believes she can create her own piece of history.

In Chicago in 1985, the legendary Rosa Mota ran 2:23:29 to establish the Portuguese national record time which has remained hers ever since, but now Jessica Augusto is aiming to break it.

She competes in Hamburg on Sunday, knowing she will have to run almost a minute quickest than her best of 2:24:25 in London in 2014 to achieve it, but full of belief that she can.

"I want to improve the time of Rosa Mota," said Augusto, 35. "I think it is possible. I have trained for this and all went well."

Augusto, who ran 2:28:53 in London 12 months ago, has made the podium at the last two European Athletics Championships, winning bronze in the marathon in Zurich in 2014 and then finishing third again in the inaugural half marathon in Amsterdam last July.

London is the target for so many at this summer’s IAAF World Championships – and Europe has a strong presence on Sunday, too, when the city stages its marathon.

Selection places will be up for grabs and Spain’s men are led Ayad Lamdassem (2:09:28) and Javier Guerra (2:09:33), the quickest Europeans in a field including Ethiopian superstar Kenenisa Bekele, whose 2:03:03 from Berlin last September is the second quickest of all-time.

France’s Abdellatif Metfah has a best of 2:09:46 while Belgium’s Abdelhadi El Hachimi (2:10:35) will be looking to break the 2:10 barrier.

As too will be Great Britain’s Chris Thompson (2:11:19). An athlete who has battled injury but always returned, he told Athletics Weekly: "If I am not fighting, I am not living. What I really thrive on is competition and racing – and I just love it."

Kenyan Mary Keitany (2:18:37) is the women's favourite in a race she has won twice, with the Netherlands’ Andrea Deelstra (2:26:46) and Switzerland’s Maja Neuenschwander (2:26:49) spearheading the European bid.

Lithuania’s Diana Lobacevske (2:28:03) and Great Britain’s Jo Pavey (2:28:24) are the next two quickest Europeans who will have world championships on the mind but one former European champion is bowing out from the London Marathon after this year’s race – BBC television commentator Brendan Foster.

Foster, 69, who won 5,000m gold at the 1974 European Athletics Championships in Rome, is putting down his microphone this summer after a commentary career which began in 1980.

He is retiring after the world championships, meaning the London Marathon is his last and it will be a memorable occasion for him. He has been chosen as the 2017 recipient of the John Disley London Marathon Lifetime Achievement Award and will receive it from HRH Prince Harry, Patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, after Sunday’s race.

Foster has been to every London Marathon since it started in 1981 and he said: "It has been a privilege and I am very lucky to have done what I have done since my competitive career finished."