Gorecka seeks a second Mini Marathon title
Emelia Gorecka, the European junior cross country bronze medallist, will be targeting another major title when she lines up for the South East in the under-17 girls' event in this Sunday's Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon.
The British international delivered an outstanding performance when finishing first European in the IAAF World junior cross country championships in March, and is undoubtedly a specialist over that terrain. But she has demonstrated equally impressive form on the road and track.
Gorecka, a member of the Aldershot, Farnham & District club, last won the Mini London Marathon as a 14-year-old in 2008 and has since gone from strength to strength, winning the World School Games 3000m in 2009 and representing Britain over the same distance at the 2010 World Junior Championships, where she was 11th.
Gorecka, a team-mate of European junior cross country champion Charlotte Purdue, a former mini marathon winner herself for Hampshire in 2006, will line up against Chelmsford's Jessica Judd who eclipsed Gorecka's UK under-17 3000m best in Watford less than two weeks ago when she raced to 9:08.5 on 6 April.
Judd, the UK Inter-Counties champion, was a mini marathon ‘counties and regions' champion in 2009 and 2010, and could win her third successive title with victory this weekend.
The duo represent the future of British female distance running and will follow in the footsteps of previous medallists who have gone on to gain international honours including Purdue and Stephanie Twell, a former world junior 1500m champion and three-time European junior cross country champion who represented Britain at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Also in action this weekend, is the T54 wheelchair racer Jade Jones, who represented Britain in January's IPC senior World Championships. Jones will be looking to improve on her second place finish in this event 12 months ago.
The five-time world junior champion is coached by Ian and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and she has already proved her credentials at age group level. In fact, it took multiple world record holder and double world champion Hannah Cockroft to push her into second in 2010.
Two previous Mini London Marathon wheelchair winners, the triple world champion David Weir and track world record holder Shelly Woods, line up in this year's full marathon event, a fitting milestone on a day that marks ‘500 days to go' to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon involves a series of races for those aged between 11 and 17 years old and is divided into three different age categories for both boys and girls.
The event - which first started in 1986 involving children from all 33 London Boroughs - is run over the last three miles of the marathon course, starting at Old Billingsgate and finishing under the London Marathon gantry at the Mall. It now includes young athletes from English regions and teams from the home nations. In 2011, for the first time, the event is an official UK road running championship for young athletes.
More than 2000 boys and girls will take part in three new age groups, under-13, under-15 and under-17. The first race to start is the under-17 wheelchair race at 08:55 and the programme closes with the under-13 girls' events at 09:45.