Athletics: Big Apple to Brown's taste

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The Independent Online

Brown, who missed both the World Marathon and Half-Marathon Championship races this year, believes he can finish a low-key season on a high.

After setting a personal best when finishing sixth in April's London Marathon, the Canada-based athlete fully intended to challenge for the summer's two major global titles. But injury forced him out of the World Championships marathon team and a poor showing in the Great North Run saw him withdraw from the shorter race on 1 October

The 34-year-old said that the Tyneside event had taken more out of him physically than he had expected, so he had decided to focus fully on running in New York. "Training has gone fairly well, not super great, but quite solid - similar to London this year [where he lowered his personal best to 2hr 9min 31sec]," he said.

"After the Great North Run I came down with a cold, but since then training has gone fine. Three weeks ago I ran another half for training and ran a solo 63:55." His time was just 11 seconds slower than in the highly competitive GNR, where Zersenay Tadesse recorded the world's fastest-ever time.

Brown, who in his last New York appearance, three years ago, tore a calf muscle at the halfway point, said: "It's always hard to know how a marathon will pan out. But I feel I'm in decent shape, so barring disaster, I should run competitively with the lead group."

Paul Tergat, the world-record holder, and Martin Lel, his fellow Kenyan - the winner in New York two years ago and in London this year - head an awesome field. But Hendrick Ramaala, of South Africa, the defending New York champion, will also be confident of his chances in the event.