Athletics: Wami wins fresh bite at Big Apple

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Asked whether Jo Pavey had given her a hard time in the 13.1-mile half-marathon that boiled down to a sprint in the final 200 metres of the Great North Run yesterday, Gete Wami dealt with the query as summarily as she had ultimately done with her rivals. "No," she replied unblinkingly, without further elaboration. Well, it has been a week for frankness on the sporting front here on Tyneside.

It was harsh on Pavey, who had towed the Ethiopian back on to the coat-tails of Kenya's Magdelane Mukunzi on the mile and a bit stretch to the finish line along the seafront, and whose consolation for finishing third in the three-way charge for the line was a personal best of 68min 53sec – a time that has been bettered by only three Britons (Paula Radcliffe, Liz McColgan and Mara Yamauchi). Wami, though, has another British athlete in her sights. She is gunning for revenge against Radcliffe in the New York City Marathon on 2 November.

In the Big Apple last year Radcliffe emerged victorious against the woman who was her long time nemesis. This time Wami intends to make sure it is different. Unlike Radcliffe, the 35-year-old now has a confidence-boosting win under her belt following the disappointment of the Olympic marathon seven weeks ago. Wami dropped out before the 20-mile mark in Beijing, suffering from a stomach bug. Radcliffe, of course, got to the finish in the "Bird's Nest" but with a calf muscle in spasm and in 23rd place. "I am surprised that Paula is running in New York," Wami said, "but I am glad that she will be. I like a hard race and with Paula I get a hard race."

As for Pavey, she has her sights set on a debut marathon, possibly in Osaka in January or London in April.

Behind Pavey, the Scot Hayley Haining clocked a personal best in sixth place, 70:53.