Athletics: McKiernan adds to class field

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CATHERINA McKIERNAN will attempt to regain her Flora London Marathon title next year.

The Irishwoman, who won the race in 1998 but was unable to defend her title because of injury, was one of three major additions to the women's field announced yesterday. Mexico's Adriana Fernandez, who won in New York this year after finishing runner-up in London, and Manuela Machado, Portugal's double European and former world champion, will also run on 16 April.

The trio join a field that includes the Kenyan duo of Tegla Loroupe, the fastest female marathoner ever, and Joyce Chepchumba, the winner in 1997 and this year. Scotland's Liz McColgan, victorious in 1996, will also make her return following the birth of her second child.

"We have been talking about the much-anticipated battle between Tegla Loroupe and Joyce Chepchumba," said David Bedford, the race director. "But now, with the addition of these top athletes, the women's race will definitely be something special."