Evans still in gear

Click to follow
The Independent Online
PAUL EVANS, a runner who though 34 still has a lot to prove, and Hugh Jones, who has turned 40 but has proved to be among the best in the world, carry British hopes in today's New York Marathon. Evans believes that, in spite of many disappointments, he has one or two fast marathons in his legs while Jones, the former London Marathon winner, hopes not to feel the onset of varicose veins when running as a veteran for the first time in a major event.

Evans is Britain's fastest runner over the marathon, half marathon and 10 kilometres this year but has not endeared himself to everyone by announcing that New York will be his last race in 1995, which means he misses the European cross-country championship in Northumberland on 2 December. He says he needs a break after 18 months' virtually non-stop competition and training and that he intends making one last big effort to win over a distance he admits still causes him problems.

He has too often given the impression of being a gallant loser. His courageous run in the last London Marathon was typical: he got little credit for his brave front running and a creditable fifth place in 2hr 10min 31sec. The problem for British marathon runners is simply that world standards are improving faster than they can catch up.

With the Africans so powerful and Mexico providing tough road competition, Evans knows that in New York the chances are he will suffer the same fate as in the London Marathon. "But," he says, "one of these days the wheels won't come off".

The pace today is likely to be fast because the field again includes the Mexican German Silva, who won last year by beating his countryman Benjamin Peredes by two seconds. Further down the field of some 30,000 runners, Jones and Nick Rose compete among what the Americans call the Masters, top competitors mainly in their early forties. Masters standards are improving rapidly, however; only a few of the "younger" veterans can hope for serious money.