Chepchumba's training offer

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The Independent Online

Joyce Chepchumba, last year's London Marathon winner, yesterday made a generous offer to British athletes wanting to emulate the success of herself and Sunday's winner, Tegla Loroupe, to travel to Germany and train with them.

"There is nothing secret about what we do in Detmold," said Chepchumba. "It is all about training hard two times a day and having excellent medical back-up.

"Everyone is welcome to come. We had one of your coaches [Lindsay Dunn, a former advisor to a host of British distance runners including Brendan Foster and Charlie Spedding] eager to see what things are different in our training. He quickly learned it was all simply about hard work."

In February, the Kenyan pair offered the current British No 1, Marian Sutton, the opportunity to join their punishing schedule on the Algarve as they prepared for last weekend's London race. "But Marian was injured and couldn't come," said Chepchumba, who has struck up a close friendship with Sutton since they met in Chicago two years ago.

Both the Kenyan runners are looking forward to renewing their friendship and rivalry with Sutton - already preselected for the Olympic marathon - in Saturday's Compaq five-mile road race at Balmoral Castle. Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan, the world record holder for the distance, is also competing.

Few British runners would contemplate taking part in such a highly competitive race so soon after a marathon. But Chepchumba said: "I ran the day after the London Marathon and I'll be running much further in a session I plan today."

Chepchumba also sent a chilling message when forecasting that the threat of Kenyan athletes will continue following the successes of herself and Loroupe. "Ten years ago the world had probably only heard of Susan Sirma as it was frowned upon for our women to compete in sports," she said. "But now it is different. All three big marathons at the weekend were won by Kenyans and there are plenty more excellent runners coming through the ranks."

Chepchumba, who like Loroupe used to work in a Kenyan post office, added: "It is a fact of life some of the younger ones like Lorna Kiplagat, who has been running since she was 13, have never worked. They know it is possible to make a rich living from running - and others want to do the same."

* Mark Steinle, who finished 11th in the London Marathon on Sunday, has been nominated for selection by UK Athletics to compete at the Olympics. He is joined by Keith Cullen, who finished the London Marathon four places behind him. Karl Keska has been nominated for selection in the 10,000 metres after finishing second in the EAA Challenge in Lisbon at thebeginning of the month.

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