Team GB Profile: Scott Overall

Meet the marathon runner who dazzled the Olympic selectors with a 2:10 debut in Berlin.



by Dominique Brady

scott overall
Picture credit: Frank Sygusch

The last year has been transformative for Scott Overall. This time last year he was working part-time in a sports shop and contemplating his debut marathon. Fast forward to September 2011 and the plucky Londoner had jaws dropping with his fifth place finish at the Berlin Marathon in 2:10:55.

The former 5,000 and 10,000m track runner had met the Olympic A standard, secured his slot in London 2012 and burst onto the scene as a shining new British marathon talent.

With less than six months until his Olympic marathon, we got the inside track from Scott himself.

Four years ago I was only seven seconds off the qualifying time for the 5,000m at the Beijing Olympics, so I did hope I could improve on that and run the qualifying time for the 5,000m or 10,000m in London 2012.

I hadn’t really thought about the marathon back then, but as I did more races on the track, the marathon was looking more and more likely. I decided to move up to the marathon last year and it turned out quite well!

Being from a track background I’ve never raced with a watch. When you’re on a track there’s always the lap splits read out to you. In training I run enough miles at 5 min/miles to know what that feels like.

Since the Berlin Marathon, London Marathon has been very supportive and I can train full time. Now I don’t have to worry about standing on my feet in a shop. I can get my training done and get the right recovery.

With marathon training not every session is going to feel great. Before Berlin I had some really bad sessions and runs I didn’t finish because I was fatigued. It’s the training as a whole and the accumulation of miles that counts.

I’m in the unusual position to have already qualified for London 2012. Previously when I’ve run on the track, the qualifying race or trials were 3-4 weeks before the actual championship. Then once you’re selected all the training you’re doing is geared towards that event. I try not to think about the Olympic marathon. It’s still six months away and I’ve got other things in between now and then.

I’ll be pacing this year’s Virgin London Marathon. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pace a few more British men to reach the qualifying time and it’ll help me learn the London Marathon course for the future. I’d really like to see my training partner Ben Whitby qualify. He’s capable of it, and slightly selfishly, it means I’ll have someone to train with right through to the Olympics.

As a young athlete you always watch the Olympics and aspire to take part one day. I didn’t have one particular athlete who I looked up to or who inspired me, it was just that I wanted to compete at the Games.

Nobody remembers what time the Olympic marathon was run in, they just remember who won. With it being a championship race, you never know how it’s going to go. It could be a slow pace or it could be at world record pace. Position is more important than time.

I can definitely run a lot faster than I did in Berlin. In Berlin I was running on my own for the last half of the race. I’d like to think I can run 2:07-8.

The Olympic marathon might not be the race to run that time. It’s four laps and it’s more spectator-friendly. It doesn’t look to be a particularly fast course, but it’s a championship race and you can never predict what will happen.

My main aim in London 2012 is to be competitive. I’ll be running against a strong field of Kenyans, Ethiopians, American and Japanese runners. I’d be happy with a top ten finish.

I don’t have any Olympic tickets. I never applied, that way you can’t be disappointed.

After the Games, I’d like to get quicker in the marathon and get PBs on the track in the 5,000m and 10,000m. I’d just like to run faster, isn’t that everyone’s goal?


Age: 28
Coach: Robert Chapman
Club: Blackheath & Bromley
Career Highlights:
2005 – European U23 Championships 5000m 6th
2008 – Aviva Olympic Trials & UK Championships 5000m silver
2009 – UK Championships 5000m gold
2011 – Berlin Marathon 5th
Race diary:
Silverstone Half Marathon (March 11)
New York City Half-Marathon (March 18)
Bupa London 10000 (May 27)
Olympic Games Marathon (August 12)


Previous article
Team GB Profile: Martyn Rooney
Next article
RW Interviews: Hannah England

Olympics, London 2012, Scott Overall
TwitterStumbleUponFacebookDiggRedditGoogle

Discuss this article

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.