Athletics: Brown's tough challenge

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S TOP three distance runners will be competing in the 1999 Flora London Mara-thon on 18 April, it was announced yesterday.

The British 10,000 metres record holder, Jon Brown, Paul Evans, who was third in the 1996 marathon, and Richard Nerurkar will be among the 30,000 runners.

Brown, who just missed out on a bronze at the European Championships, will be keen to win the battle of the Britons, but he could have a tough task against Evans, who was fifth in the recent Great North Run, and Nerurkar, placed eighth in the European Championships.

Abel Anton of Spain and Catherina McKiernan are the defending champions, and the strong field also includes Ronaldo de Costa of Brazil, the fastest marathon runner ever. Organisers have reported a 15 per cent increase in applications to around 90,000.

Ben Johnson's latest request to be reinstated as a sprinter has been directed to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports, which is seeking about pounds 19,000 from the federal government to cover costs of a hearing.

Johnson, 37, has not competed since receiving a lifetime suspension from the International Amateur Athletic Federation in 1993 after a second positive drug test. Reinstatement by Athletics Canada would allow Johnson to race in domestic meets.

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