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Page last updated at 19:41 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 20:41 UK

Britain's Mara Yamauchi arrives in London for Marathon

Virgin London Marathon
Date: Sunday, 25 April Start: 0830 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Two (0830-1000) and BBC One (1000-1240), BBC Radio 5 live (0830-1200) and the BBC Sport website (UK only)

Irina Mikitenko

Yamauchi finished an impressive second behind Mikitenko in 2009

Britain's Mara Yamauchi has become the first leading athlete to arrive in London for Sunday's Marathon after a six-day journey from New Mexico.

Yamauchi left Albuquerque last Thursday, travelling to New Jersey in order to catch a flight to Lisbon.

She then took a six-hour taxi ride to Madrid and after failing to get on a ferry, took two days to drive to Paris.

Marathon organisers, who have spent almost £150,000 on private flights for athletes, then flew her to Shoreham.

Last year's runner-up reached London late on Wednesday afternoon and said: "It's been an interesting journey to say the least and hardly the best way to prepare for the race.

Yamauchi reflects on marathon journey

"I am tired but most of all just happy to be here. Now at least I have time to relax and begin to focus my mind on the race.

"I am confident I will be fully recovered and ready to run by Sunday morning."

London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel insists that the costs of ensuring athletes made it to the startline could be absorbed by organisers.

"That sounds a lot of money, but in the scope of putting on an event of this nature it is well within the contingency budgets we have available to us," he said.


"One of the resaons the London Marathon was set up 30 years ago was to show that when it comes to putting on events, Britain does it best.

"You cannot do that without getting the best fields together."

Olympic gold medallist Sammy Wanjiru was one of those who benefitted from the event team's foresight after a private plane was arranged to help him travel from his home country of Kenya.

The 24-year-old defending champion will fly with several other Kenyan competitors whose plans for Sunday's race changed after planes were grounded by volcanic ash.

World marathon champion Abel Kirui, Duncan Kibet, who set the third-fastest time in history in last year's Rotterdam Marathon, and Emmanuel Mutai are expected to accompany Wanjiru.

The Kenyan party is likely to be joined by runners from Ethiopia and Eritrea during a stopover in Djibouti.

"Fatigue may affect us during the race and my agent has indicated to me that he another jet will pick us in Spain," added Wanjiru.

"I think travelling by road or train from Spain to London may be too long for us."

Defending women's champion Irina Mikitenko will travel via rail from her home in central Germany.

Marathon organisers are also monitoring the air pollution levels in London for any change caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Analysis of the dust material over the weekend indicated that it does not contain material that is seriously harmful to health.

see also
London Marathon forecast
22 Apr 10 |  News
Robinson set to compete in London
22 Apr 10 |  Athletics
Weir suffers flat as Cassidy wins
25 Apr 10 |  Disability Sport
Marathon worry for elite runners
18 Apr 10 |  Athletics
Brit Yamauchi second in Marathon
26 Apr 09 |  Athletics
Briton Yamauchi wins in New York
21 Mar 10 |  Athletics
Wanjiru sets London course record
26 Apr 09 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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