FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Team GB first out of the gate in International Team Challenge
at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2006
Liverpool's Jenny Clague to head-up British Invasion
British Marathon Team Coach, Bud Baldero, today announced this year's Team
GB, to compete in the International Team Challenge at the 7th annual
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on September 24th.
Team GB are the first to name their athletes and throw down the gauntlet,
in the four-way Challenge, between Team Canada, Team America, Team Mexico,
and the Brits, at this year's Waterfront event.
Named to the British squad are Jenny Clague of Liverpool Harriers, Sue
Harrison of Leamington C&AC, Rich Gardiner of Cardiff AAC, and John
McFarlane of Thames H&H. Travelling first-reserve will be Beth Eburne of
Hinckley RC.This is an official UK Athletics, national, "developmental"
Liverpool's Jenny Clague is perhaps the best known on the squad, as
Britain's "comeback kid". Fourteen years ago, she was regarded as a better
prospect than Paula Radcliffe [current Women's marathon world record holder
at 2:15:25, and international celebrity].
As a teenager in 1992, the Liverpool runner beat Radcliffe by seven seconds
in a televised race at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, finishing
second as Liz McColgan set a world record for the 5,000 metres. Clague's
time was an English record of 16min 11.61sec.
A few weeks later, Radcliffe turned the tables in spectacular fashion when
she won the junior race at the world cross-country championships in Boston,
defeating China's Wang Junxia, who a year later rewrote the history books
when she set world records for the 3,000m and 10,000m. Clague finished
fourth, disappointed to miss out on a medal but still having shown enough
talent to suggest she had the ability to be a world-class runner.
"It was at this time that Paula and myself were really big rivals over both
cross-country and distance races," said Clague.
Then, as Radcliffe continued to rise to stardom, Jenny suffered serious,
repeated achilles tendon injuries that resulted in her needing two
operations, and was reduced to jogging 20 miles a week. Now 32, manager of
the English Cross Country Team, and working full time in the City of
Liverpool's Sport Linx Programme [the largest of its kind in Europe] that
gets inner city kids involved in sport, she's mounting a serious comeback.
In 4 marathons over the past 3 years, she's lowered her PR from 2:49 in
Shanghai to 2:41 in London '05, to 2:38 in Kosice last Fall, and 2:36:10 in
Flora London this Spring. In Kosice, she was 3 1/2 minutes down on the
leader at halfway, then hammered the second half, to finish only 16 seconds
back of winner Edyta Lewaneowska of Poland. In Paula's absence at London in
April [due to injury], Jenny was 2nd British woman behind only Mara
At Toronto Waterfront this Fall, she has her sights set on a 2:33/2:34, and
will be the sentimental favourite among the women's front-runners, trying
to break the existing course record of 2:36:20, set by Russia's Lyubov
Morgunova in 2003.
Sue Harrison, 34 year old Senior Landscape Architect from Warwickshire in
the Midlands, will also mount a strong threat at this year's Waterfront,
having run her career best marathon of 2:36:13 at Hamburg on April 23rd,
the same day Clague ran her 2:36:10 in London.
Welshman Rich Gardiner, and Londoner John McFarlane also had strong
performances in the 2006 British Championships at London Marathon this
Spring. Gardiner, who had fine outing as a tune-up at the Bath Half, of
65:39, went on to post a 2:18:41 in London; McFarlane, the current Surrey
Cross Country Champion, was just behind in 2:19:15.
The International Team Challenge was introduced for the first time at last
Fall's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon, to considerable acclaim,
with Team Canada defeating Team GB. Each Team consists of 2 male and 2
female runners. Their combined finishing times are added together to
determine the winners.
"The International Team Challenge is aimed at up-and-coming athletes who
can run in the 2:15 to 2:20 range [men] and the 2:35 to 2:42 range
[women]," says Race Director Alan Brookes. "We cover all travel,
accommodation and food expenses, giving developing athletes from Canada,
USA, UK and Mexico the opportunity to gain important international
experience and a fast time. They get to stay in our 'Athletes Village'
hotel with all the top Africans while in Toronto, and gain invaluable
experience at the top level.On the other hand, the race also receives
another important component, some great stories, and some added depth, as
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront continues its advance into the upper echelons
of international marathons".
The Scotiabank International Team Challenge adds even more excitement to
Canada's most-competitive marathon field. After the top African finishers
cross the line between 2:10 and 2:13 [men] and in the low 2:30s [women],.
The International Team Challenge athletes will provide another "race within
a race", with national pride [as well as some prize monies] on the line.
Spectators will be able to easily identify these athletes in their
distinctive national uniforms, and cheer for them along the course, as well
as at the Finish.
Besides bragging rights on 2 continents and a trophy, the winning team will
receive $4,000, 2nd place gets $2,000, and 3rd place wins $1,000 [per
Right now, Team GB is clearly the team to beat!