Some of Britain's leading distance runners, including European Team Championships representatives Andy Butchart and Lily Partridge, are to lead the home challenge in the innovative Morrisons Great Newham London Run 4 x ¼ Marathon Team Relay at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday 19 July.
Butchart, who competes in the 3,000m for Britain at the European Team Championships in Cheboksary, Russia, this weekend and Partridge, who runs in the 5,000m, have decided to pick up the gauntlet laid down by organisers of the Morrisons Great Newham London Run to chase super-fast times in a novel relay event held over the 26.2 mile marathon distance.
The Great Run Company is planning to assemble overseas international men's and women's teams to compete in the 4 x 10.54km event, with the aim of threatening the hallowed two hour barrier for the marathon.
The British challenge, however, will be spearheaded by two cracking Anglo-Scottish quartets.
In the men's race, Butchart, the 2015 Scottish cross country champion, will team up with Scottish Commonwealth Games 5,000m and 10,000m finalist Luke Caldwell, English cross country champion Charlie Hulson of Sale Harriers, Manchester and Aldershot's Jonny Hay, who captained the British squad at this year's World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China.
The women's quartet also brings together two leading Scots – European Under 23 cross country champion Rhona Auckland and Commonwealth Games 5,000m and 10,000m finalist Beth Potter – with two leading English runners: Partridge, the national cross country champion of England and Stockport's Jess Coulson, who finished fourth in the recent European Cup 10,000m race.
The 4 x ¼ Marathon Team Relay is open to runners of all abilities. Each runner completes two laps of the course, running 10.54km, precisely a quarter marathon and the prizes on offer in both the men's and women's sections are £2,000 for the winning team, £1,000 for the runners-up and £500 for the third placed team.
Prize money is to be divided equally among each four runners with an additional £500 bonus to go to the winning club – or to a charity chosen by the winning team, if the runners are not all members of the same club.
Entry is available at www.greatrun.org