Liz Yelling appreciates its a backhand compliment, but she just wishes that
shed be identified for herself sometimes rather than her lifetime friend, club
colleague and occasional training partner, Paula Radcliffe. But a slender
fair-haired woman charging round the streets of Loughborough is inevitably
going to be taken for the marathon world record holder. Yelling is going to
confuse the issue even more when she makes her own marathon debut in Berlin on
"It happened a lot when I was younger," recalls Yelling. "And
now Ive moved back to Loughborough, we live just a mile apart, and when Im out
training, I get people shouting, Come on Paula. But if they mistake me in
races, they must wonder why shes running so badly".
Yelling doesn do herself justice. She has run inside 32 minutes for 10,000
metres, when she represented England at last years Commonwealth Games, can run
close to 70min in the half-marathon, and if she goes well in this debut
marathon, shell be in line for selection to join her est friend on the start
line of the Olympic race in Athens next year.
The progress she made since beginning to train full time two years ago was
halted by a winter virus followed by an Achilles tendon injury, forcing her to
miss the track season. But acqua-jogging - "dead-boring" - has kept
her in cardiovascular shape, and she feels the 2hr 32min Athens qualifying time
should be well within her capabilities. "Its taken me a while to build up
my training, you can just jump from 75 to 140 miles a week, Im doing 105 now
compared to Paulas 145. Ill err on the side of caution on Sunday, and go for
2.30/2.31 pace, get to 20 miles and see whats left. If I get the qualifying
time, Ill just focus on Athens".