Brown targets Osaka place

Britain's Jon Brown has set his sights on attaining the qualifying standard for the World Championships in Osaka when he faces a world-class field in tomorrow's Flora London Marathon.

Britain's Jon Brown has set his sights on attaining the qualifying standard for the World Championships in Osaka when he faces a world-class field in tomorrow's Flora London Marathon.

Brown, who lives in Canada, knows he is running in one of the best line-ups ever assembled for the event but is confident of beating a qualifying time of two hours 12 minutes.

The British number one for the last decade finished fourth at the last two Olympic Games but has never flourished when chasing the clock in big city races, his best finish coming when he finished fourth in his second London appearance eight years ago.

Tomorrow will see the 36-year-old Bridgend-born athlete attempt to run his own race rather than trying to rub shoulders with the legendary Haile Gebrselassie, world record holder Paul Tergat and defending champion Felix Limo.

That trio, along with other top stars including reigning Olympic and World title holders Stefano Baldini and Jaouad Gharib, will be targeting Tergat's four-year-old world record of 2hrs 4mins 55secs.

But Brown, who set his lifetime best of 2:09.31 when placing sixth two years ago, plans a more pedestrian approach in his fifth London outing.

The Sheffield AC athlete, who is aiming to run between 2:10 and 2:12, said: "The World Championships is intended to be the peak for my year.

"I've no idea where this will place me - but my aim is to use the race as part of my build-up to Osaka."

Brown, after a nightmare 2006 season in which he was constantly troubled by injury and illness - forcing his withdrawal from the European Championships - is content with build-up to the race.

He said: "It has been progressing with some decent sessions in the last few weeks."

In the women's race, Mara Yamauchi, who became the second fastest Briton ever, behind Paula Radcliffe, when sixth a year ago, intends concentrating on cementing her World Championships place.

Kathy Butler and Tracey Morris are also looking to put in big races.

Gateshead Harriers promote their annual Open Medal meeting at the International Stadium tomorrow (12.30pm). There are events for all age groups from Under-13 to senior and a limited number of entries will be accepted on the day at a fee of £4.50.

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