British international marathon runner Louise Damen hopes to find a silver lining in Gateshead tomorrow when she puts aside the disappointment of missing next month's IAAF World Championships to chase the Bupa Great North 10k road race title.
Damen, shortly after her career high performance at the Virgin London Marathon last April, discovered she had a sports hernia injury which forced her to pull out of the British team for Daegu as a precautionary measure. Now she has been given the green light to get back into competitive racing over shorter distances and is delighted she can contest her first race since London at Gateshead this weekend, the new venue of the Bupa Great North 10km race after relocating from down the road in the City of Sunderland.
Damen, who will be in a 5,000 strong field, said: "The decision to pull out of the World Championship Marathon was a tough one as it's always a great honour to represent Great Britain. However I had some injury issues that I needed to address before running my next marathon. I had surgery to repair a bilateral sports hernia which was causing a number of issues with my lower back and gluts. The surgery has resolved these issues but I am still working on a rehab programme with my physio to strengthen certain areas long term."
The Winchester athlete, who made the fourth fastest ever marathon debut by a British woman in London, added: "I was obviously delighted to achieve the World and Olympic qualifying time. It was a big relief as I thought I was capable of running sub 2.31 if everything went right on the day and in the marathon there is so much scope for things to go wrong.
"Training has been going pretty well since my operation. I have just tried to listen to my body and am making my rehab exercises a priority. If all goes to plan then an autumn marathon is on the cards."
Scott Overall, the 2009 UK 5,000m track champion heads the men's field where the main opposition should come from Irish international Mark Kenneally and leading Britons Ian Hudspith, Mark Miles and Nick Swinburn.