Sonia O'Sullivan running in the Great North Run (Getty Images) © Copyright
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O’Sullivan advised to stick with the Marathon

Kenyan Tegla Loroupe, the former holder of world best for the Marathon and a debut winner of the New York Marathon in 1994, has advised a despondent Sonia O’Sullivan not to give up on the classic road race after the Irish woman finished 12th at last weekend’s New York City Marathon, 3 November.

O’Sullivan who took a brace of silver medals on the track at this August’s European Championships, was one of the pre-race favourites in New York but eventually finished nearly seven minutes (2:32:05) behind winner Joyce Chepchumba of Kenya (2:25:26).

The 32-year-old, whose Marathon credentials appeared substantial after she won Newcastle’s Great North Run on 6 October, in the fastest Half Marathon in the world this year (1:07:19) - where Chepchumba finished third (1:08:34) - fell off the pace in New York at the 16 Mile mark and never recovered.

"I don't know if I will do another one," she said. "All I want to do now is have a holiday and a long rest."

However, last night (9 Nov) the Press Association reported that Loroupe who has won eight of her 19 marathons, and in the process set two world bests (2:20:47 and 2:20:43), believes O'Sullivan should tackle the 26.2 Mile distance again and not retreat back to the track.

Loroupe who significantly made a spectacular Marathon debut on the streets of New York when winning in 1994 but is currently recovering from the latest in a series of illnesses and injuries which have beset her career in the last couple of years, confirmed, "I think when Sonia said she might not run another marathon she wasn't speaking from the heart, it was a case of being very upset.”

“I believe Sonia, like myself and others, can combine both the track and marathon racing," said Loroupe who despite her injuries won in Lausanne in 2:29:04 on 10 October.  

"Paula (Radcliffe) has shown this year how strength gained from Marathon training can help you during the summer's track season. She (O'Sullivan) has the ability to do this and I hope when everything settles down she will be brave enough to run another marathon race."

Press Association and IAAF