British 100km champ and 2011 world 100km silver medallist among athletes in action at ultra event in Doha

British ultrarunners Steve Way and Joasia Zakrzewski will face the likes of defending champions Giorgio Calcaterra of Italy and USA’s Amy Sproston when they take on the IAU 100km World Championships in Doha on Friday.

More than 200 athletes representing 39 countries are set to take part, the latter being a record figure for the event. It is the first time that the  International Asociation of Ultraruners’ major competition is to take place in the Middle East, with the Qatari capital this week also having been named as the host city for the 2019 IAAF World Championships. Doha also staged the 50km World Trophy Final in October.

Zakrzewski was among those in action at the 50km event, the 38-year-old having claimed silver after clocking 3:33:20 on the relatively flat 5km loop course which will also be used for the 100km. She ran 7:41:06 when winning world silver over the longer distance three years ago. Russia’s Irina Antrapova was another to race at October’s 50km and has a 100km best of 7:36:01, while Italy’s Monica Carlin, another to have made the 100km podium on a number of occasions, also features.

The 2010 winner of this event, Ellie Greenwood, who became the first British woman to win the Comrades Marathon in June, joins Zakrzewski on the GB team, as do Sue Harrison, Emily Gelder and Jo Meek.

Way set a marathon personal best of 2:15:16 when finishing tenth at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and goes into Friday’s event as the national 100km champion having run a personal best 6:19:20 in Gravesend in May. Victory in Doha would see him become the first British male winner of the event since Simon Pride in 1999.

Russia’s Vasiliy Larkin has gone quickest over the distance in the past four years with 6:18:26, while Calcaterra’s best during that period is 6:23:20. Sweden’s Jonas Budd is another who will be looking to top the podium following a series of silvers in the past and his best since 2010 is 6:29:00.

Given the expected conditions in Doha, Way doesn’t believe it will be an event for PBs and he’ll have his eye on his rivals, rather than the clock.

“I’m certainly not expecting to PB, that’s for sure,” he told British Athletics. “It’s going to be a race and that’s it really.

“I’m not fussed about the time. The World Trophy 50km Final was held on exactly the same course and the winning time was just over three hours, which is at least 10 minutes slower than what you’d expect and that’s because of the conditions.

“I am expecting to be running slower, but I won’t be getting agitated if I find myself putting the same effort in as I did at the National Championships.

“I can most definitely 100% say the world record (6:13:33) will not happen this time. I’m not saying this might not happen at some point in my 100km career, but Doha isn’t the place to be achieving that.”

Way will be joined on the four-strong GB men’s team by Paul Martelletti, who ran 3:11:05 at last month’s 50km event, Paul Giblin and Craig Holgate.

» The event gets underway at 6.30pm local time on November 21, with live results due to be posted to stuweb.co.uk