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Tulu back with a vengeance

Derartu Tulu won perhaps the most memorable women's distance race in history at the Olympic Games in 1992. Her duel with Elana Meyer, who was running for South Africa in that country's first major appearance after the end of Apartheid, captured the attention of the world. Tulu's victory, and the sporting embrace of black and white athlete after the finish, was highly symbolic of a new era for Africa.

Since then, Tulu's biggest sporting achievement came when she won the World Cross Country title in Turin in 1997 …

Derartu, a lot of people may be surprised that you beat Gete Wami, who was so impressive last year. How do you explain your success?

You have to remember that I missed the last two editions of the World Championships. After I won in Turin I tried to run the Boston Marathon and got injured. My doctor then advised me to take a long break so I decided to start a family.

Did this race go to plan?

I knew that there were very strong athletes in this event - like Wami, Cheriyot, Radcliffe and O'Sullivan - so I was worried at first that the pace may be too fast. But I thought that if I could sttay with the leaders I would finish in the top 5.

Was your training geared to this race?

Not really. In fact, I am currently training for the marathon so I have a lot of endurance. This is why I was able to be stronger than Wami at the finish. I plan to race the Lisbon Half Marathon next weekend and the London Marathon in April. I am keeping an open mind about Sydney.

Were the hills as tough as they looked?

Actually, We are always training on hills in Ethiopia so I liked running up the ones here.