Athletics: Second coming for Murray

GREAT Ireland Run winner Freya Murray (Edinburgh AC) is fairly confident of one thing as she prepares for only her second BUPA Great Edinburgh Run on Sunday and that is that she will improve on her first effort.

She said: "That was in 1998 and I was 766th."

Murray was then only 14 and entered with her elder sister Nicola. Now deservedly one of the elite runners in an impressive field, Murray will divert her attention from Sunday's task to be with her sister again tomorrow at an even more important event for the family, Nicola's wedding at Mavis Hall, East Lothian.

"It's certainly going to be a busy weekend," said Murray, who, on Monday, flies out to Boulder for another month's altitude training with her coach Steve Jones.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Despite her victory over British legend Jo Pavey and former World Cross Country champion Benita Johnson-Willis in Dublin last Sunday, in the fast time of 32 minutes 30 seconds, Murray insists she is still a relative novice at the distance.

She said: "I've got a lot to learn at 10k and I haven't done that much running on the road."

Nor does she believe that her road form can immediately translate on to the track, even though her Dublin winning time over an undulating course was five seconds inside the qualifying standard for the Delhi Commonwealth Games in October which is her main ambition.

"I ran even faster last season on the road (28:28) and it never happened on the track and I've come a cropper in the past chasing times," she added.

For now Murray is content to learn and savour the experience. She said: "It's nice to be in a field like this with the Kenyan girls there – it's good experience and I enjoy the atmosphere of running on the road.

"But I like them all, track, country and now road – I like doing a bit of everything."

Asked who she most respects in the field she smiled and said : "Everybody". She has good cause, for this year's entry list includes the three times World cross champion and double Olympic 10km champion Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia), the 2009 World Cross champion and Kenyan 10k record-holder Florence Kiplagat, 2009 Great North Run winner Jessica Augusta (Portugal), the 2008 Great Yorkshire Run winner Grace Momanyi (Kenya) and the formidable Hungarian European bronze medallist and three times Olympian Anika Kalovics.

"I'll try to go with the leading group and hopefully there will be a good spread and I won't get too isolated if it breaks up," said Murray.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Even if she gets dropped by the Elite leaders, Murray has the added incentive of a 400 prize for the leading Briton, although she can expect stiff competition from fellow GB internationalist Liz Yelling for that.

Originally invited to represent the East when she was unsure of including the event in her plans, Murray may not count in the Scottish Inter-District race but capital runners are well represented in the East team which includes Jennifer McLean and Issy Menzies (both EAC) and Steph Davis (Edinburgh Univ).

Edinburgh University should be to the fore in the men's Inter-Districts, with the Gillespie brothers Matthew and Michael, Mark Haskett, Michael Fay and Matt Sutherland all in the Scots Universities team.

Up front it will surely be another Kenyan triumph with Edwin Soi, the 2008 Olynpic 5000m bronze medallist locking horns with Titus Mbishei, the runner-up in the Great Edinburgh Cross and Vincent Yator, sixth in the World Junior. Eight times European Cross champion Sergey Lebid (Ukraine) returns to do battle as does Great Ireland men's winner Martin Fagan.