MURRAY READY TO REPLACE AILING RADCLIFFE IN OLYMPIC MARATHON
By David Monti
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly all rights reserved
(used with permission)
LONDON (29-Jul) -- The big shoes left empty by the ailing Paula
Radcliffe at next Sunday's Olympic Women's Marathon are likely
to be filled by a tiny Scotswoman who has a former world record
holder for a coach, and who has been training for this race as
if she had originally made the team.
Freya Murray, who lives in Heaton, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, but often
trains in Boulder, Colo., under Welsh legend Steve Jones, will be
nominated by the British Olympic Association and U.K. Athletics to
replace Radcliffe under the Late Athlete Replacement policy, U.K. Athletics announced here today. Murray, 28,
was designated the alternate for the British women's team after making a solid marathon debut at the Virgin
London Marathon last April where she finished 13th in 2:28:10. She was the second British woman in the race,
finishing two places behind Claire Hallissey who earned her Olympic berth that day.
"I am just so excited about this," Murray said through a statement provided by her manager, Brendan Reilly.
"It's not been very nice for Paula the past few days, with rumors running rampant in the press, and I really
feel bad for her."
Although not yet official, it is nearly assured that Murray will be allowed to join the team. She had
previously been designated the alternate and easily met the Olympic Games "A" standard of 2:37:00 with
her run in London.
Murray is a solid track athlete, with career best times of 15:26.5h for 5000m and 32:23.44 for 10,000m.
She represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in 2010, finishing fifth in the 10,000m and seventh
in the 5000m. She's dabbled in road racing the last four seasons, but began to approach the half-marathon
and marathon more seriously late in 2011 when she made her half-marathon debut at the Great North Run clocking
a credible 1:12:44. She improved that time slightly at the 2012 NYC Half last March (1:12:32), a race she
ran as a tune-up for the London Marathon.
"I really want to thank everybody who has supported me, and mainly my coach, Steve Jones, my fiance, Michael
(Ross), and the people at adidas," Murray continued. "I feel I've been so lucky the past few years. I hardly
ran in 2011 with the injuries, but Steve made me believe I could do the marathon well, and London was my
focus this Spring. We'll see how the race goes. I've done some long runs this summer, with two hours
yesterday, and I'm happy to have that under my belt. I'm just looking forward to running in the Olympic Games.
Jones, whose 2:08:05 at the Chicago Marathon in 1984 broke the world record by 13 seconds, had the challenge
of keeping Murray motivated to compete in an important race she would likely not start. He said today that
his athlete was ready.
"Freya is ready to run and she will be on the start line healthy," said Jones in a written statement provided
to Race Results Weekly. "One of the most significant things is that they [UK Athletics] are willing to put a
young and upcoming athlete into the mix to help build for the future. This is all part of the journey for
Jones confirmed that he was buying a ticket and would be in London to support Murray.
For Radcliffe, who initially had trained well for these Olympics but was undone by osteoarthritis in her left
foot, today was one of sadness. The multiple world record holder and world champion whose spectacular
2:15:25 world record at the 2003 London Marathon may never be surpassed said through a statement: "From the
day when it was announced that London had won the bid, taking part and performing well in the London Olympic
Games has been a major goal in my life. The goal of a fifth Olympics in my home country, what better? The
chance to make amends to myself for bitter disappointments at the previous two Olympics. Through a lot of
tough times it has kept me fighting, motivated and focused. That is why it hurts so much to finally admit
to myself that it isn't going to happen."
Mara Yamauchi is the third member of the British women's marathon squad. No British woman has ever won an
Olympic marathon medal.
(Photo: Hayley Sutter climbing the Bellevue St. Hill en route to winning the women’s race …