Southampton runner set to compete in the Olympics after London Marathon success

Mahamed Mahamed finishing fourth in the London Marathon 2024 <i>(Image: John Walton/PA)</i>
Mahamed Mahamed finishing fourth in the London Marathon 2024 (Image: John Walton/PA)

A Southampton marathon runner has made history after coming fourth place in the London Marathon and becoming the third-fastest British male marathon runner ever.

Southampton raised Mahamed Mahamed, 26, finished today's race with an incredible time of just two hours, seven minutes and five seconds.

Coming in just 19 seconds behind his childhood rival Emile Cairess in third place, the two Brits (pictured below) have made history.

It is the first time two home runners have finished in the top four since in 1988.

Daily Echo: Emile Cairess and Mahamed Mahamed
Daily Echo: Emile Cairess and Mahamed Mahamed

This makes Mahamed the third-fastest British male marathon runner ever, behind Sir Mo Farah and his team-mate.

The Ethiopian-born runner attended Cantell School with his younger brother, Zak Mahamed, after moving to England in 2011.

Mahamed also completed a BA and MSc at Solent University and was also a sport scholar, meaning the University supported him during his studies to balance his running ambitions with his courses.

As reported in the Echo in 2019, the brothers grew up chasing off wild animals while protecting herds of cows, sheep and goats in Ethiopia.

According to several national media outlets, this means he has booked a spot in the Paris Olympics this year for Team GB.

In an interview with Athletics Weekly, Mahamed said: "Its a dream come true to finish fourth. I'm over the moon to have qualified for Paris.

"I've been working on this project for the last two years so I'm so happy that I got it. I'm so glad I got the job done.

"When I saw a few guys drop back, I just tried to catch up with them as much as I could and to finish at 2:07 - well what can I say, I'm just so happy.

"I'm now working towards getting 2:04 or 2:05 - I'm learning; this is only my second marathon."

The iron-legged athlete said that he was inspired when watching the 2012 London Olympics and said he 'cannot wait' to enter the games himself.

Mahamed was also a Southampton Athletic Club star and has won the under 17s National Cross-Country title at Parliament Hill, London in 2015, the English under 20s National Championship and the Inter-Counties cross country championships in 2018.

He also won the senior English National Cross-Country Championships in 2019, and again in 2022.

Last year he even finished second at The Big Half in London, ahead of world-famous British runner Mo Farah.

Reflecting on the race, Mahamed’s childhood rival who came third, Emile Cairess, said: “Me and Mahamed have been racing since we were 13, so we’ve always been neck and neck.

“We’ve always progressed together so it’s fantastic to see him doing so well.

“A lot of people drop out of the sport but we kept going and it’s paid off for us.”