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UK Athletics

Mara seeks the high road to Gothenburg

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Versatile Mara Yamauchi (Harrow AC) begins three weeks of altitude training today – hoping her last two races will have earned her a 10,000m place in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team at the forthcoming European Championships in Gothenburg.


Yamauchi, who became the second-fastest UK women’s marathon runner of all-time behind Paula Radcliffe when she clocked 2:25:13 in this year’s Flora London Marathon, ran the Sapporo Half Marathon in Japan in 1:10:56 on Sunday 9 July.


It came after she demonstrated her track for on 24 June by clocking 15:28.58 in the UK Athletics Endurance Initiative 5000m at Solihull – a time that puts her behind only the exceptional Jo Pavey in this summer’s UK rankings.


The Sapporo run earned Yamauchi fifth place in a field that was hot in every way. The temperature was 25°C and the race was won by the reigning Olympic Marathon Champion Mizuki Noguchi (Japan) in 1:08:14 with the Athens Silver medallist Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) eighth in 1:11:50.


The Japan-based Yamauchi said: “I hope this plus my 5km will be enough to show my form for the Europeans 10,000m.”

She heads the UK Women’s 10,000m rankings for the year with the 31:49.40 that earned her the Commonwealth Games Silver medal in Melbourne, Australia, on 21 March. The next two fastest times were also logged in that race – 32:32.38 by Hayley Yelling and 32:44.29 by Kathy Butler – but they are outside the UKA Elite Standard of 31:55.00 for Gothenburg. First UK athlete home in the European 10,000m Trial at Watford on 10 June was Wendy Jones in 34:01.75.


The Norwich Union GB selectors will announce their initial selections for Gothenburg next week, after the Norwich Union European Trials, incorporating the UK Championships and AAA of England Championships, at Manchester’s Sportcity on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July.