The countdown to the opening athletics event of Glasgow 2014 will begin in earnest for two of Scotland’s leading Commonwealth Games hopefuls in the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run this Sunday.
Susan Partridge and Freya Ross have both chosen the new-look event in the Scottish capital, extended from 10km to 10 miles this year, as the competitive launch pad in their build up to the women’s marathon in Glasgow on the morning of Sunday 27 July.
‘We’re now less than 14 weeks away from the marathon in Glasgow and I’m at the start of my build-up,’ said Partridge, already selected for Team Scotland.
‘The women’s marathon is the first athletics event at the Games and I am getting quite excited.
‘That’s why it’s nice to be able to do a race like the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run. It’ll be like a stepping stone to Glasgow – to be racing in Scotland in the countdown to the Commonwealth Games.
‘It will be good to just go back north and experience the buzz towards the Games; enjoy a little taster of what it’s going to be like.’
Partridge, 34, hails from Oban but lives and trains in Leeds, where she works as a researcher in joint replacement.
She stands fifth on the Scottish all-time women’s marathon rankings with 2.30.46, a time she recorded when finishing ninth in the 2013 London Marathon.
Ross, 30, a member of Edinburgh AC, became Scotland’s second fastest female marathon runner – behind Liz McColgan-Nuttall – when she clocked 2:28:10 on her debut at the 26.2 mile distance in the 2012 London Marathon.
She was called up for the London Olympic marathon at short notice later that year, when Paula Radcliffe withdrew because of injury, and did well to finish 44th as the first Briton across the line. Since then, however, injury has put a spanner in the works of the former engineer’s marathon ambitions.
Now Freya is back training following injury and ready to return to action for the first time since the Scottish cross country championships in February.
‘I’m just back from training out in Boulder, Colorado, for four or five weeks and that went really well,’ said Freya.
‘I’m looking forward to racing again but I’m not going to read too much into it because it’ll be my first one for a while.
”Obviously you don’t want to count your chickens before they’re hatched in terms of selection for Glasgow but, with the marathon, you do have to prepare as if you’re going to be there.’
Both Partridge and Ross are coached by Steve Jones, whose 29-year-old British men’s marathon record of 2:07:13 survived a debut assault by Mo Farah in London.
Sunderland’s Alyson Dixon is also working towards the women’s marathon at the Commonwealth Games and has been in top form in recent weeks, clocking personal bests of 32.35 in the Brighton 10km race and an outstanding 70. 27 for 18th place in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen.
The men’s race in Edinburgh will feature Chris Thompson, the 2010 European 10,000m silver medallist who made a solid start to his marathon career in London the weekend before last. The 32-year-old Cumbrian finished eleventh in 2:11:19.
Sunday’s race starts and finishes in Holyrood Park and takes runners past the major sights of the Scottish capital including the Royal Mile, Scott Monument and Edinburgh Castle.
Online entry to the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run is available at http://www.greatrun.org/edinburgh