Athletics: McColgan's Olympic marathon plan

Liz McColgan put the doubters in their place yesterday with a comprehensive victory in the Great North Run, and the 31-year-old Scot immediately set her sights on the Olympic marathon.

After talks with her new coach, Grete Waitz, McColgan has decided to seek gold on the roads in Atlanta next year and forget about the 10,000m. Waitz, Norway's former long distance champion, said: "The best 10,000m runners are running very fast these days. Liz's biggest potential is in the marathon. There is more scope for her to improve."

McColgan, world champion on the track in 1991, ran away from Ethiopia's Fatuma Roba in the final mile of the 13.1-mile half-marathon from Newcastle to South Shields. It was her first significant success since the Tokyo Marathon in 1992 and was reward for ignoring advice from specialists that she should retire because of injury.

Three times Roba tried to break McColgan after the pair had dropped the world marathon champion, Manuela Machado, of Portugal, with nine miles gone. She responded on each occasion and won a battle of wills with the decisive break which took her to victory by 23sec in 71min 42sec.