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Olympic runners stroll to success in Wycombe Half Marathon
TWO athletes set to compete in the Olympic marathon in coming weeks strolled to victory in High Wycombe today.
British runner Claire Hallissey was triumphant in the ladies Wycombe Half Marathon whilst Anuradha Cooray, who will compete for Sri Lanka, easily beat off competition in the men's event.
Hallissey, 29, came in with a time of 1.16.01.
Cooray, 34, who lives in High Wycombe part of the time and also in Wendover, finished in 1.07.02.
Women's winner Hallissey told the BFP: “I'm happy with winning today and with the Olympic marathon coming up in two weeks that's obviously my main focus.
“This was a bit of a training run, albeit a hilly one. It's obviously tough with the hills at the beginning.
“I'm very excited about the Olympics now, it's not likely to come around again in my lifetime. This was my last real hard training drill.
“I'm now starting to relax and starting to focus on the race.”
She revealed her victory came despite suffering with a minor muscle injury before the race.
Asked if she had a target for herself at the London 2012 games, she replied: “Not really. First of all I just want to go out and enjoy it, it's my first Olympics, I just want to have a competitive race and see how far up I can finish.
The runner is based in Virginia in the USA and has recently been at a UK Athletics training camp in the French Pyrenees with top GB athletes Paula Radcliffe, Mo Farah, and Hannah England.
“It was quite nice hanging around with all these great runners,” she said.
She tipped Farah for success and said: “It would be lively to see Paula up there with a medal. It's a bit of an unknown with her, she can pull one out of the bag on the day.”
Hallissey hopes to benefit from the home crowd advantage and said people generally in the country seem to be enthused about the games.
She added: “My Twitter account has gone a little bit crazy, lots of comments on that.”
Cooray, who is based in England with his wife and family, said: “The course is really hard, really because of the start, with the hills, it was killing me. But overall, it was fine.
“This is my last race before the Olympics and it was my training run.
“I'm really excited because this is like my home games now and this is my second, I also ran in 2004. I hope to do my best and come in the first 15.
“This may be my last Olympics because I'm getting a bit older now.”
The Sri Lankan national record holder said he is pleased his two 18 month old twins will get to see him race.
His coach Nick Taylor from Vale of Aylesbury Athletics Club said: “I'm very confident, he's in the best form of his life I think. He's probably the best athlete I've trained.”
Meanwhile, High Wycombe resident Karl Alexander won the men's 10k race and Lucy Rogers, from Hazlemere, won the ladies' run.
See links for full results.
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