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Reed’s tonic win ahead of World Trials

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Kate Reed, ‘baby’ of the silver medal winning Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team at the last two European Cross Country Championships, goes into the World Trials at the University of Bath tomorrow with a tonic win under her belt.

 

She triumphed in the Armagh International road race in Ireland last night in 9 minutes 16 seconds, nine seconds ahead of runner-up Rosemary Ryan (Ireland) with Dorota Ustianowska (Poland) third in 9:35.

 

Reed, 24, will be favourite for the trial that is being incorporated into the women’s 6.8km race at the British Universities Sports Association Cross Country Championships so that the athletes selected for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in steamy Mombasa, Kenya, on 24 March can spend adequate time acclimatising at a warm weather camp established by UK Athletics in Durban, South Africa.

 

So many leading UK endurance runners are unavailable for the severe test that Reed, who is coached by Alan Storey, the UK Athletics senior performance manager for endurance, is one of only 20 women to sign-up for the trial race, which is coincidentally being staged on the course where she used to race in Avon Schools Championships. In addition, there are 14 athletes among the BUSA entry of 417 who have run for Norwich Union GB as either juniors or seniors including Felicity Milton (Durham University), who burst into the European team in her first winter in athletics.

 

Similarly, only 30 men have entered their trial race, including three of this winter’s team at the European Championships, Mike Skinner (Blackheath and Bromley), Gavin Thompson (Crawley AC) and Steve Vernon (Stockport Harriers). In addition, there are 17 athletes among the BUSA entry of 642 who have run for Norwich Union GB as either juniors or seniors.

 

The first three in each race will earn the automatic right to join pre-selections Mo Farah (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow), the European champion, Hayley Yelling (also Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow), the 2005 European champion, and Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers), the UK’s No.1 at 5000m last summer who has worked hard on her stamina this winter.

 

But whether full teams of nine men and six women are selected will only be known next week. The UK Athletics selection criteria, drawn up before the start of the winter season, states athletes should be of the appropriate standard to earn a place in races that veteran campaigner Rob Whalley (Bristol and West AC) predicts will be “a war of attrition”. He bases his judgment on the last time the World Championships were held in Africa, in Marrakech in 1998.

 

He is now 38 and, as duty manager at the University of Bath Sports Training Village, had to carry out the risk assessment on the trials course. “It’s fine,” he reports, “but the pace in Mombasa is going to be wicked. I don’t know how many European nations will send full teams. But I’m going to give it a good old whirl to try and persuade the selectors to take me!”