IAAF org. Okayo fit for defence in New York Marathon - PREVIEW

New York, USA - As is so often the case these days here, the women’s

version of the ING New York City Marathon (Sunday 7 Nov) seems more intriguing

than the men’s race, especially this year.

Olympic redemption for Radcliffe?

Not only is Britains Paula Radcliffe (holder of the World record at an awesome

2:15:25) competing for the first time since her agonising dropout at 36

kilometres in Athens 11 weeks ago, but she’ll be facing three other top

10 performers on the all-time list: Kenyans Tegla Loroupe and Margaret Okayo,

equal 7th at 2:20:43, and American record holder Deena Kastor, 10th at


Britains best athletics writers

Radcliffes presence has brought a squad of Britains best athletics writers

across the pond to see how she will fare, and today she faced them and others

for the first time since she stopped at 36 km in Athens. She was cheerful,

almost chirpy, and said she had gotten over her Athens disappointment and was

ready to run hard and win. "Its something you can never forget," she

smiled, perhaps a bit ruefully, "but you have to get over it."

Hard training in Flagstaff

If she is as ready as she says she is after two months of hard training in

Flagstaff, Arizona, its hard to bet against the 30-year-old Radcliffe. Shes run

more than five minutes faster than anyone else in the field, and if form holds,

she could win literally by a mile (more than 1600 metres).

Okayo fit for task

But of course, form doesn always hold in a Marathon, and no world-class runner

toes the line with the idea of finishing second.

Okayo, 28, who took the London Marathon title this spring, has won in New

York twice, in 2001 and 2003, setting a course record each time (its now

2:22:31) ...