British distance runners Jo Pavey and Mara Yamauchi are set to go head-to-head in a thrilling domestic clash at this month's Bupa Great North Run. Both have now fully recovered from the injuries which kept them out of the recent IAAF World Championships in Daegu, and are raring to get back into serious action, before targetting autumn marathons.
Pavey, who snatched a podium finish three years ago on her Bupa Great North Run debut, and Yamauchi, now living in London after several years in Japan will both take part in the world's biggest half marathon on Sunday, September 18.
Pavey, who set her personal best time of 68 minutes 53 seconds over the Newcastle-South Shields course in 2008, said: "Mara is a great friend and we will always wish each other all the best. I'm just pleased that we're both returning to racing after recovering from injury.
"When I finished third in 2008 it was a really exciting and close finish. I was pleased with the way I ran, but very disappointed to miss out on first place, right at the last minute. It left me wondering if there was anything I could have done differently.
"I would like to think that I could get a new PB in the Bupa Great North Run this year. I've made some good progress and have trained hard. I will be giving it my best shot."
The 37-year-old, who gained the 2012 Olympic Games standard at the Virgin London Marathon in April, added: "The injury that kept me out of the World Championships marathon was a foot injury. I had to do some of my running in the pool for a while. This was at a time when it would have been necessary to be doing very high mileage in order to run a marathon in August."
Yamauchi, sixth in the last Olympic marathon, is also confident she can return to the top quickly. "I had a hamstring tendon injury, but I'm almost over it now, thank goodness. It has taken a long time to rehabilitate so I am very happy to be back running and am looking forward to racing again.
"I was very disappointed to miss the World Championships as I was hoping to compete well there and hopefully qualify for the Olympics. But I have missed too much training to make a good performance realistic. I just have to focus on getting completely fit again."
54,000 runners will compete in the Bupa Great North Run, which will be broadcast live by the BBC.