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UK Athletics

UK Duo selected for Ethiopia Opportunity

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Bush (right) battles with Jo Ankier at Cross Country Relays
UK Athletics announced today that Susie Bush (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC) and Victoria Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers) have been given an invaluable training and racing experience in Ethiopia.


Wilkinson, a former world fell running junior champion who has returned to cross country so successfully that she is currently second in the UK Cross Challenge standings, and Bush, silver medallist in this winter’s South of England Cross Country Championships, will fly out to Addis Ababa in mid-March and race on 1 April in the world’s biggest 5km road race for women-only.


The Confident First Women’s 5km, last year attracted more than 8,000 entries to the delight of the organising team led by former GB international Richard Nerurkar, who coincidentally ran for Wilkinson’s club.


UK Athletics Senior Coordinator for Endurance Spencer Barden said: “This is an exceptional development opportunity and we are confident that Susie and Victoria are talented and adventurous enough to make the most of it.”


Alan Buckley (Gateshead Harriers), who spent three weeks training in Ethiopia pre-Christmas with his wife Jo, is confident the pair are in for the inspirational experience of a lifetime.


Buckley, who is certain the spell formed his springboard into the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for next month’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kenya, says: “Here in the UK you are odd if you go running. Even though I live in the area of West Yorkshire where internationals like Steve Brookes and Colin Moore lived and trained, I get funny looks as I run along the roads.


“In Addis, there were so many Ethiopians running on the roads in their national kit at all times of the day, all incredibly friendly. They were genuinely interested in why we were there and what we were doing. In fact, several of them joined in with what running we did. We felt we were part of a huge running community.”