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Sunday, 17 March, 2002, 16:16 GMT
Steinle proves fitness in style
Mark Steinle in action during the 2001 London Marathon
Steinle back to form in time for the London Marathon
Mark Steinle blew away any fitness doubts with an impressive run in the Ciudad de Murcia half marathon in Spain on Sunday.

Steinle finished three minutes in front of the rest of the field in an impressive time of one hour three minutes and two seconds.

And the win has dispelled any doubts over the British runner's fitness ahead of the Flora London Marathon next month.

I felt no niggles with my hips or knees and have no blisters which is a great relief
Mark Steinle
The Blackheath Harrier has suffered numerous calf, hip and knee injuries and has not run since he finished sixth in the London Marathon last April.

Steinle said: "I did not set myself any targets. I just thought I would go out and push it as hard as I could."

His time in Spain was only 39 seconds slower than the personal best he achieved three years ago in the Great North Run.

"I think I am in shape to smash through two hours 10 minutes in London," Steinle predicted.

"Today, being on my own throughout, put a lot of pressure on me to run quickly.

"Also I was very nervous after such a long lay-off.

"I know I ran a half marathon in Pretoria last month for fun. But it was not really.

"I finished with aches and pains and with my feet blistered and cut to shreds.

Mark Steinle
Steinle training in Spain before Ciudad de Murcia
"Thankfully, I felt no niggles with my hips or knees and have not got any blisters, which is a great relief."

Steinle has made the decision to bypass the marathon in the Commonwealth Games and European Championships this summer.

Instead he plans to try to gain a place at both major meetings over 10,000 metres.

Steinle said: "I believe there are only two good marathons in you each year.

"I will run London and then I'm looking to do Chicago in October. That will keep me happy."

See also:

16 Mar 02 |  Athletics
Steinle set to prove fitness
23 Apr 01 |  London Marathon
Steinle looking for improvement
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