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Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Friday, 23 April 2010 17:36 UK

Mara Yamauchi ready for Marathon test

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)

Yamauchi aims for London Marathon glory

By Ross Heaton
BBC Oxford

Mara Yamauchi says she remains positive ahead of the London Marathon despite a gruelling six-day journey to the UK from her training base in the USA.

Yamauchi was forced to travel from Lisbon to Madrid by taxi, before completing the journey via France by hire car and private plane.

"I haven't had much sleep but on the positive side I haven't had to do much training," Yamauchi told BBC Oxford.

"I should be quite rested and fresh ahead of Sunday which is good."

Yamauchi, who finished a surprise second last year, is aiming to become the fourth British woman to win the London Marathon after Joyce Smith, Liz McColgan and Paula Radcliffe.

The 36-year old Oxford-born athlete remains philosophical about the problems that have hampered her preparations.

"You just have to take these things in your stride as an athlete. You never know what might happen, " said Yamauchi.

I won the race to reach London so I am hoping that will carry on and I can repeat that on Sunday

Mara Yamauchi

"With the London Olympics coming up in 2012 there is going to be so much expectation around British athletes.

"This is a good way to practice dealing way of dealing with stress ahead of a big event."

Yamauchi - who is now based in Tokyo with husband Shige - is in good form having won the New York half marathon in a course record time.

She said: "The last few weeks before we left I did some really good training and then winning in New York was a bonus.

"I am reasonably confident I am in good shape, I'm looking forward to it. I will give it my best and try and put my feet up until Sunday."

A stellar field includes Germany's Irina Mikitenko - chasing a third successive title - includes Olympic champion Constantina Dita of Romania, Chinese world champ Bai Xue and US record-holder Deena Kastor.

But Yamauchi is among the favourites and maintains her goal is to improve on her position in 2009.

"I'd love to improve on the placing. I won the race to reach London so I am hoping that will carry on and I can repeat that on Sunday," she said.

TOM FORDYCE'S BLOG

"As far as the personal best goes, a lot depends on the weather. If we have really good weather it is possible."

Clearly in good spirits the affable marathon runner has also paid tribute to the support she has received back in her home city ahead of the event.

"I would like to say thank you to my supporters, family and friends in Oxford. I have had quite a few emails and texts from people. I hope they will be watching on Sunday," she said.



see also
Kebede powers to London victory
25 Apr 10 |  Athletics
Weir suffers flat as Cassidy wins
25 Apr 10 |  Disability Sport
Yamauchi arrives for London race
21 Apr 10 |  Athletics
Briton Yamauchi wins in New York
21 Mar 10 |  Athletics
Yamauchi clocks new personal best
27 Jan 08 |  Athletics
Yamauchi ready for altitude test
23 May 08 |  Athletics


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