Age is becoming a tiresome barrier to a vintage career that has spanned a period of almost 20 years at international level, Derartu Tulu has admitted. However, the 38-year-old Ethiopian athlete, with Olympic and World Championship track gold medals to her name plus three world cross country crowns and London and New York marathon titles, is adamant that she will stick around for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Tulu, who is arguably the greatest woman distance runner of all time, believes London and hopefully a clash with Paula Radcliffe, Britain's golden girl, will be the perfect stage to finally bring down the curtain. "I'm not getting any younger but my plan is to qualify for the Ethiopian team and run in London and hopefully Paula, who is a great friend, will be there," said Tulu, who is competing in the Great Edinburgh Run today.
"It wouldn't seem right when the Olympic marathon is held in her own country if she wasn't competing. Yes, we are rivals, but every marathon runner loves Paula for what she has achieved. I've fought some great battles with her and it would be great if our last was to take place in London if my country picks me." The British challenge following the withdrawal of the injured Liz Yelling will be led by Freya Murray, eager to impress on home soil and relishing the chance to compete at this level.
Just a week after failing to finish in the London Marathon, Dan Robinson will aim to prove his precautionary measure was the right decision to make when troubled by a calf muscle. But with Edwin Soi, the Olympic 5,000m bronze medallist, and Titus Mbishei and Vincent Yator, his fellow Kenyans, in the field, he knows he will be running for a minor placing. Ukraine's Sergiy Lebid will compete with Ireland's Martin Fagan to become the first non-African across the line.