Tirunesh Dibaba prepared for her 10-mile debut in tomorrow’s Great South Run elite women’s race and warned her rivals: I am here to win.
Dibaba is viewed by many as the greatest female distance runner of all time.
It’s a moniker that is almost without question on the track, where she is a three-time Olympic champion.
The 31-year-old Ethiopian, though, is equally at home on the roads, with her personal best in the marathon the second fastest time ever run by a female debutant.
And Dibaba will be hoping to add to her list of impressive achievements with victory on her first visit to Portsmouth.
That’s after recovering from the calf strain which ruled her out of Great Scottish Run action earlier this month.
Speaking through a translator, Dibaba said: ‘I am here to win the race.
‘I am going for the victory.
‘There is a small drop off from the injury I had but other than that I am fully focused on winning.
‘I have recovered well – a couple of weeks ago when I was training for the Great Scottish Run I had an injury but afterwards I rested.
‘It was while running at speed that I hurt my hamstring but I have recovered from that and I am feeling very well for tomorrow.’
Dibaba has yet to compete over a 10-mile distance but was keen to end her competitive season with a new challenge.
That’s after becoming a mother for the first time last year.
She said: ‘One of my favourite places to run is in the UK and we made arrangements to run the Great North Run and the Great South Run, so that is how I came to run this race.
‘It’s a new challenge for me, running the 10 miles.
‘This year has been a different year for me because I came back to running from having a baby.
‘But this is the end of the season for me so I wanted to race the Great South Run and it is a good challenge for me to run this race.
‘It is a new possibility in my road race career.’
Dibaba outlined the differences between competing on track and road but revealed a switch in terrain is something she has been considering past tomorrow’s event.
She added: ‘When you are doing track you have to run at different speeds but this one is more of an endurance race.
‘Switching to the road from the track is a matter of having a lot of endurance.
‘But I enjoy it and I would also like to race more on the roads from now on.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN