UK Athletics today announced the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Teams for the Chiba Ekiden Relays to be run in Japan on Thursday 23 November.
Pre-selections Jon Brown (Sheffield AC) and Peter Riley (Leigh Harriers) will both run 10km stages and the remainder of the men’s team was selected after Saturday’s Nike National Road Relays. Jermaine Mays (Kent AC) will run 7km while the 5km stages will be tackled by Adam Bowden (Harrow AC), Michael East (Newham and Essex Beagles) and Phil Nicholls (Tipton Harriers). The travelling reserve will be Glen Cornish (Sale Harriers Manchester).
In the women’s team, Sian Edwards (Kettering Town Harriers), who will celebrate her 18th birthday the day after the race, will run one of the 5km stages along with Helen Clitheroe (Preston Harriers) and Laura Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield AC). Jenny Blizzard (Rotherham Harriers) will take the 7km stint with Wendy Jones (Cirencester AC) and Jo Wilkinson (Bedford and County AC) each racing 10km. The travelling reserve is Gemma Turtle (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers).
“The selectors are confident they have selected the strongest available teams for what is recognised as the most competitive road relay in the world, bearing in mind that the event is two days before our Trials for the European Cross Country Championships,” said Spencer Barden, UK Athletics’ Senior Coordinator – Endurance.
While four of the squad – Nicholls, Blizzard, Edwards and Kenney – will be making their senior international debuts, they will be supported by experienced team management.
The Team Leaders will be Mike Johnston, the Scottish Athletics National Endurance Coach, and Liz McColgan, a Scottish Athletics Director who coaches young athletes in her home city of Dundee, is now heading up the scottishathletics Bank of Scotland-supported 'special endurance squad' and is probably best remembered in Japan for her 10,000m triumph at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo.
UKA Senior Performance Manager for Endurance Alan Storey said: “Liz’s vast experience will certainly help the team. She is a very well respected figure in the athletics world, especially in Japan because of her endurance running exploits. The younger members of the team in particular will undoubtedly benefit from her presence.”
- Ekiden Relays, which are run over the full marathon distance of 26.2 miles, attract huge crowds in Japan. The Chiba event will be contested by many of the world’s foremost endurance runners.