Several of Britain’s leading endurance athletes will not compete on home soil at the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh later this month.
Former winner Paula Radcliffe (Bedford & County), Jo Pavey (Exeter), Mara Yamauchi (Harrow AC) and Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles) have all announced that they will not run in Scotland on 30 March 2008, choosing instead to concentrate on preparations for the Olympics.
Double European Junior Cross Country champion Steph Twell (Aldershot & Farnham District) has withdrawn from the junior race at Holyrood Park, after being pre-selected, because of a back injury.
Mick Woods, Twell’s coach, said the decision for the St Mary’s-based athlete to withdraw was not taken lightly.
He said: “We are very disappointed that Steph will not be running, particularly as it is on home soil. The World Cross Country is an important championship that we value greatly and Edinburgh is one of Steph’s favourite and most successful courses.
“However, given the significance of the summer it is important for Steph to have a successful track season - the focus has to be the World Junior 1500m championship.”
Several athletes will not compete at this weekend’s Inter-County Championships, incorporating the UK Cross Challenge Final and World Cross Country trials at Wollaton Park, Nottingham, but have made themselves available for selection for the Norwich Union Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for Edinburgh. They are:
Kate Reed (Bristol AC), who will remain in South Africa warm weather training; Liz Yelling (Bedford & County), who will continue with her preparations for the Flora London Marathon; Hayley Yelling (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) because of illness; and Katrina Wootton (Bedford & County).
In the junior race this weekend, Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester AC) and Jo Harvey (Exeter) will not run but both have made themselves available for selection for Edinburgh.