Farewell Freya Murray, hello Mrs. Ross. Having got hitched just last weekend, the Great Britain international will fly off on honeymoon to California on Monday for a welcome break following a summer that saw her earn a late invite to the Olympic Games before the further elation from her nuptials. The bags are packed, passports at the ready. But first, she will squeeze one more waltz around her native city in tomorrow’s Bupa Great Edinburgh Run.
Husband Michael was supportive of the delay, she claims. So much so that she will sport a spousal gift in the race, a pair of custom-made trainers with her marital name stitched in the heel. They have already been broken in. “I ended up wearing them at the reception after only two ceilidh dances,” she reveals. “It was just much more comfortable. But now I’ll actually get a go at them on the road.”
Ten kilometres more and the pair can turn their full attentions to their impending road trip around California, and a break from the exertions of the gruelling training schedule which the former Miss Murray embraced to fuel her step up to the marathon this year. It is the longer distance which will now command her attention. This is, indeed, an opportune time.
With Paula Radcliffe, whose withdrawal from London created a vacancy for Murray, and Mara Yamauchi, seemingly destined for retirement after a decade of prominence, opportunities knock for others.
“I still want to do cross-country and I still feel like there’s some unfinished business on the track,” said Ross. “I think I can go quicker. But marathon is what I want to focus on. But there are a lot of good athletes coming through. Claire Hallissey, Louise Damen, they’ve done well and others are around. It’s going to be an exciting battle, but I would like to see my name on the team sheet.”
Her name on the winners’ roll in her native Edinburgh would be a nice addition too. The course has undergone a makeover, starting and finishing in Holyrood Park. However, with no television coverage of this year’s event, the annual 10-kilometre race has a largely domestic vibe, with Andrew Lemoncello heading the men’s field, and the Scottish Inter-District Championships adjoining a series of junior runs.
“If I can win here, that would be a great end to a perfect week,” Ross admits. New brand, same intent.