Wendy Nicholls tips Jo Emery to win women's race on Sunday
WENDY NICHOLLS is ‘gutted’ she will not be able to defend her ladies’ title at the 25th anniversary of the Cirencester 10k on Sunday.
The 43-year-old former GB international from Fairford appeared to be coming back to form this summer two and a half years after the birth of her second child Gabriel.
But she has reluctantly decided to pull out of the event which takes place over some of her normal training routes in scenic Cirencester Park.
“I have not felt 100 per cent since the birth of Gabriel,” admitted Wendy, who works for the Cotswold District Council in Cirencester.
“I have got some back and pelvic issues so I am going to see my osteopath this week and I have decided to pull out of the Ciren 10k, although I am gutted about it.
“I hope to be fit in time to defend my Eynsham 10k title in the first Sunday in November, but my main focus next spring is going to be the triathlon.
“I did a few back in 2005 and I have got all the kit but it has been gathering dust. I have done a couple this year and I enjoyed it.
“My swimming is okay, although there is room for improvement, but my cycling is rubbish so that is what I have to work on over the winter.” More than 530 entries have already been registered online for the popular Ciren 10k, though further entries will be taken on the day. And could there be a shock with a woman winning the race for the first time in its history?
Race director Pam Wheeler said: “Only one of the top ten men from last year’s race, Steve Yates, has entered to date,” she said.
Cirencester AC President Bob Ferris, however, poured cold water on the idea of a female winner. “In about 1993, Marion Sutton, who was a GB international marathon runner, finished sixth,” he said. “Even if Wendy had been fit, I think it very unlikely that she would have won overall.”
Nicholls, who finished tenth in a time of 37.27 last season believes there will be a prominent lady runner.
“Jo Emery has moved down to Cirencester having been with Coventry Godiva Harriers and she is my favourite to win the women’s race,” said Wendy.
“Though principally known as a 5,000 metre runner on the track, looking at her times I think she could do 36 minutes.
“Wouldn’t it be embarrassing for the men if Jo were to win it.”
Also among the women will be Shona Crombie-Hicks, of the Bourton Roadrunners, last year’s runner-up.
Shona ran for GB in the marathon at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Coming in the other direction to Cirencester is Libby Dyde, from Australia, who is over visiting family and looking forward to running in the race.
Meanwhile, last year’s sixth Yates lines up in the form of his life having recently picked up the silver medal in the World Long Course Triathlon Championship in Spain.
The feat has earned Yates, from Daglingworth, a place on the CDC’s National Sportsman Scheme, giving him free access to all Cotswold Leisure Centre facilities. See how Steve and Jo get on this Sunday morning. Spectators are welcome and there will be entertainment from the Cirencester Zumba band.
Also in attendance, and giving the event a real sense of continuity, is Bob Ferris, who organised the first Club 10k race 25 years ago.
Bob is not only the club president but one of its founder members.
He will be on hand to start the race at Cirencester College and present the awards.