Susan Partridge got the British team off to a relative flying start yesterday with a top-10 finish in the first event to be decided at the World Championships, the women's marathon.
The 37-year-old Scot – coached by the British men's marathon record holder Steve Jones – battled through the heat to finish 10th in 2hr 36min 24sec after Kenyan Edna Kiplagat had overtaken leader Valeria Straneo of Italy to become the first woman to successfully defend the title, prevailing in 2:25.44.
Partridge, who holds down a full-time job as a researcher in joint replacement at the University of Leeds, said: "It was about places today. I was way back at the start and for a minute I wondered if I'd been a little bit cautious but once I got my rhythm going I started to come back and pick people off."
In the 30-year history of the World Championships only four other British women have achieved a top-10 finish in the 26.2-mile event: Mara Yamauchi (ninth in 2007), Paula Radcliffe (first in 2005), Sally Ellis (10th in 1991) and Joyce Smith (ninth in 1983).