By Sean Creedon
Ireland’s top two women runners, Catherina McKiernan and Sonia O’Sullivan, will not be racing against one another at the World Cross Country Championships in Belfast next March.
It was hoped that McKiernan might challenge O’Sullivan, the reigning world champion, in Belfast. Instead, the Cavan runner will be having another go at trying to break the world record for the women’s marathon.
"The timing of the cross country championship will not allow Catherina to run in Belfast," said McKiernan’s coach, Joe Doonan. "At that point she will be in the final stages of her preparations for another marathon and it’s simply not feasible to do the two."
Following her recent brush with the world record in Amsterdam, McKiernan will have a choice of three marathons in the spring: London, Boston and Rotterdam. Rotterdam, with its flat course and male pacemakers, is the likely choice.
"The Olympic Games in Sydney is the ultimate target for Catherina and every marathon that she runs is preparation for that," Doonan said.