Duncan Mackay for the IAAF
August 29 2001 - London - Annie Emmerson achieved an unprecedented feat when she was named alongside Paula Radcliffe in Britain’s team for the International Association of Athletics Federations World Half-Marathon Championships in Bristol on October 7. It is the third different sport inside four months for which the 31-year-old been chosen to represent Britain in a world championship event.
Having already competed in the world triathlon championships in Edmonton last month, Emmerson is due to compete in the world championships duathlon, a combination of running and cycling, in Rimini on September 16 before turning her attention to Bristol.
It completes a remarkable transformation for Emmerson, who only took up exercise nine years ago after kicking a 20-a-day cigarette habit. The multi-talented sportswoman from Surrey in southern England is ranked among Europe’s top triathletes but is also an accomplished runner having won the Bath half-marathon earlier this year in 73min 1sec.
For Radcliffe, defending the title she won in Veracruz, Mexico, last October is the final leg of a world championship treble she has targeted during 2001. The first one was completed successfully when she won the World Cross Country gold medal in Ostend in March but the second proved to be a disappointment as she finished fourth in the World Championships 10,000 metres in Edmonton this month.
Radcliffe is taking this event very seriously and has turned down potential five-figure paydays at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane, the Grand Prix Final in Melbourne and the Great North Run in Newcastle to concentrate on training for the 21.098 km race.
She will run in the 5000m at the Golden League meeting in Berlin on Friday before leaving for a spell of altitude training at Font Romeu in France to prepare for Bristol. Joining Radcliffe in the team will be her Bedford clubmate Liz Yelling, Salford’s Beth Allott and Belgrave’s Birhan Dagne.
The men’s team is led by Sheffield’s Jon Brown, fourth in the Olympic marathon last year, and Mark Steinle, the first British finisher in this year’s London Marathon. They are joined in the team by Swindon’s Matt O’Dowd, Tipton’s Nick Jones and Belgrave’s Kassa Tadesse.
Kassa won the world junior half marathon title nine years ago in Gateshead, the last time the event was held in Britain, in an Ethiopian vest before seeking political asylum in the country. He has now is a British citizen but cannot be sure of his place until the IAAF formally approves his selection. They are currently awaiting confirmation from the Ethiopian federation.