Paula Radcliffe's latest assault on the record books became a great deal easier yesterday when it was announced that Gete Wami had withdrawn from Saturday week's Great North Cross Country at Newcastle's Exhibition Park.
The former world 10,000m champion has been suffering from a mystery illness and the Ethiopian has returned to Addis Ababa. Wami, who decisively out-sprinted Radcliffe for the gold medal on the final lap of their memorable race in Seville three years ago, was expected to mount a strong challenge to the marathon record holder. The absence of this year's Amsterdam marathon champion leaves fellow Ethiopian, Derartu Tulu, the task of taming Radcliffe in the 6km race. That will be no forlorn hop as Tulu is the current Olympic and world 10,000m champion.
But the surprise package could be Kenya's Edith Masai. "She won this year's world cross short course race over 4km," Peter Elliott, the race promoter said, "so will be at home over 6K in Newcastle."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies