Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Blaydon Race Hopes High

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Blaydon Race Hopes High

Article excerpt

Organisers of the 2004 Nike Blaydon Race are confident many of the world's leading track runners will use this year's event as a key part of their Olympic preparation as all eyes begin turning to Greece.

Four-times champion Julius Kimtai is just one of the athletes seeking to include the June 9 classic in his pre-Athens programme as he homes in on Mike McLeod's long-standing record of seven Blaydon Race titles.

And Russia's Yelena Burykina is under pressure to defend her 2003 title after pledging to better last year's convincing win on Tyneside.

"As things stand we're waiting to see how Athens will affect the international field but I'm told that many of our regulars are keen to incorporate the Blaydon Race in their build-up to the Olympics," said race organiser Jim Dewar.

"Of course we'd all love to see Kimtai back but he's based in Kenya and it all depends if and when he switches his training to Europe.

"It would be great to see him lock horns with 2003 winner Tesfaye Eticha again - it's tussles like that which bring the race alive. …

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