The last time Mara Yamauchi took on the challenge of the marathon she was beaten by the fallout from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. Just to make it to the start-line for the London Marathon in April, the Oxford woman had to undergo an ultra-marathon trek from Albuquerque to the English capital – via Denver, New Jersey, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Le Touquet and Shoreham – because of the Icelandic ash cloud shutting down European air space. The six-day, 5,500-mile slog took its toll. The world No 2 of 2009 finished down in 10th place, in 2hr 26min 16sec – 3min 4sec down on her best.
Four months on, it was announced yesterday that Yamauchi would be running in the ING New York City Marathon on 7 November. This time, the 36-year-old and her Japanese husband and coach, Shigetoshi, will be taking no chances. "Our anti-volcanic ash measure is we're going to Albuquerque to do our final preparation," she said. "We've just got to hope that Yellowstone doesn't erupt. If a volcano does go up, we'll be driving across the US."
Yamauchi has recovered from a foot injury she suffered in June but has not raced since London. "At the moment, I've only got one race planned before New York," she said. "That will be the Great North Run on 19 September."
Having won the New York Half-Marathon in March, Yamauchi will be going for a historic double, no athlete having triumphed in both events there in the same year.