The record entry of over 10,000 (including many first time race runners) for this year's Bupa Great Edinburgh Run has been joined by American running legend Deena Kastor. The event on Sunday, May 3 through the streets of Scotland's historic capital on a scenic 10k route has developed into one of the UK's top races so it's no surprise that it is a target for the American no 1.
Kastor, the 2004 Olympic bronze medallist was one of the pre-race favourites in Beijing until disaster struck just three miles into the endurance event forcing her to retire from the race immediately. The 36-year-old US record holder was devastated by the setback, admitting the first three months after the incident had been the most difficult in her career waiting for her foot to heal naturally. Kastor's patience paid off and seven months after Beijing she made her comeback at the recent Shamrock Shuffle 8km road race in Chicago, winning comfortably as snow fell in the freezing conditions. That encouraging display prompted the 2006 Flora London Marathon champion to accept an invitation to give herself a much harder challenge in Edinburgh over a testing 10km course.
"I have gotten in some great training over the past two months," said Kastor. "I am running free of caution and with months of stored race energy."
Kastor is adamant that having seen her Beijing hopes wrecked, she is determined to get her career back into the fast lane and is planning to compete at the 2012 London Olympic Games. "Since Beijing went terribly wrong, I guess you can bet I'll be around for another four years," said Kastor, outlining her long term ambitions.
"We're delighted to welcome Deena who is the Paula Radcliffe of American distance running to our meeting and I know she wouldn't be coming unless confident she can produce a good performance," said Andy Caine the event's elite athletes manager.
Caine added: "She's accepted a massive challenge particularly with Jelena Prokopcuka a three times Edinburgh champion returning this year and other top European stars also in the field. "This is all about rehabilitation for her and I understand after a few more shorter races she'll be looking to return to marathon running in the autumn."
In a change to last year's format the event will start and finish on George IV Bridge instead of The Meadows. The day will also include the Bupa Junior and Mini Great Edinburgh Run making it a great day out for all the family. For more information or to enter the event visit www.greatrun.org.