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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 18:01 GMT
Pavey reveals cross country fears
By Sarah Holt

Jo Pavey
Pavey won European Cross Country bronze in 2004
Jo Pavey has played down her chances of winning a medal at Sunday's European Cross Country Championships in Italy.

Pavey, 33, heads up Britain's female team but says her chances of success depend on the course conditions.

"It's a bit of a gamble because I'm really bad at running on poor surfaces, especially mud," she said.

Mo Farah, Britain's leading male contender, is also cautious, saying: "I'm in the best shape I can be but getting a medal won't be easy at all."

Pavey and Farah, who are both based in Teddington, have just returned from separate training camps in South Africa.

Despite their pre-race caution, the duo hope to challenge for individual medals over 8km and 9.95km respectively as the anchors of the men's and women's teams.

"I'll definitely give it my best," Pavey told BBC Sport. "I'll go into it with an open mind and hope the course is fairly flat and dry.

"People laugh at me because I'm so bad if there are mounds and mud, but I'm looking forward to it.

I want to carry on running until after Beijing, maybe until 2010

Jo Pavey

"The team atmosphere is also good, we get on well, support each other and then we have an evening out afterwards."

Pavey will use Sunday's race in Italy to get more mileage into her legs as she continues to turn her attention to longer distances.

The Commonwealth 5,000m silver medallist confirmed plans to make her track debut over 10,000m next summer with a view to undertaking a maiden marathon in the future.

"I'm very focused on doing a 10k and I definitely want to do it at the world championships," said Pavey.

"Setting different goals keeps me interested and motivated and eventually I want to try a marathon - though I'm not ready for that yet.

"I want to carry on until after Beijing, maybe into 2009 or 2010. I seem to cope with the mileage quite well so at this stage in my career I'm excited."

Mo Farah
Farah led Britain's junior cross country team to gold in 1999

While Farah also has his sights set on future targets, notably his Olympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Games, the 23-year-old is fully focused on a "difficult" race in Italy.

Farah, who finished 21st in last year's championships, faces tough competition in San Giorgio, where Ukrainian defending champion Sergiy Lebid is out to win a seventh title.

"Sergiy is my toughest challenge," Farah, the European 5,000m silver medallist, told BBC Sport.

"I want to do better than last year and feel that I'm in good shape. We also have a really strong team."

Engineering student Felicity Milton joins Pavey in the women's squad, after giving up hockey to focus on athletics this year, along with 2004 champion Hayley Yelling and sister-in-law Liz Yelling.

Farah is joined in the men's team by training partner Chris Thompson and 2005 European Junior Cross Country silver medallist Andy Vernon.

The European Cross Country Championships will be shown on BBC Two on Sunday 10 December from 1430 GMT.

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