Murray earns GB call-up for trip to Japan.
FREYA MURRAY'S impressive performance in last weekend's National Road Relay Championships has quickly been rewarded.
She is included in the Norwich Union GB and Northern Ireland team announced today for the Chiba International Ekiden Relay in Japan on November 24.
And the Chester-le-Street runner will be joined on the trip by Morpeth's Ian Hudspith, who has been in fine form recently.
Murray was benefiting from a four-week stint of altitude training in Boulder, California, thanks to the backing of Scottish Athletics, before scorching round the Sutton Park circuit to record the fastest time of the day.
Now based on Tyneside, where she works as an engineer with Gosforth-based Cundall, Murray was delighted that her run in the Midlands has been recognised so quickly.
"Going to Japan fits in nicely with my plans for the winter," said Murray, who says she could not have done it without the support of her employers.
"Cundall have been marvellous to me since I came down from Scotland, giving me a month off which included two weeks of paid leave, to go to America.
"Now I am going to Japan with their blessing, which I really appreciate."
In Boulder, Murray linked up with UK marathon and half-marathon record holder Steve Jones, and the benefit of training at altitude for a long period was beneficial immediately.
She added: "You never know how you are going to react when you come back down to sea level.
"There is a school of thought that it takes some days before the advantage kicks in, so it came as something of a surprise to run so well in the relays, although I knew I was pretty well in myself.
"The training in America was very similar to what I am doing here, except I had the bonus of being with a high standard group of athletes and, of course, the weather was just ideal.
"I ran two races while I was out there and performed quite well, which was a good indication to how I was going."
The Ekiden, a race over the marathon distance shared by six athletes, is not the first on Murray's agenda for the winter.
She plans an assault on the cross-country scene, with the National Cross-Country Relays in Mansfield and the Gateshead International pencilled in before heading off to Japan.
She said: "Going to Japan means I will miss the trials for the European Cross-Country Championships, but hopefully I will have done enough to be selected for Brussels.
"If I run well in Mansfield and Gateshead then the selectors could pick me without running the trials. That is the plan, anyway, and now it is down to me."
Hudspith's call-up, meanwhile, makes up for missing out on a place in last year's team when he was in the form of his life.
The Newcastle schoolteacher will be part of the team which comprises a mixture of youth and experience.
Hudspith, at 37, will be 20 years older than the baby of the team, Charlotte Purdue - and will run a 10k leg, which is the penultimate stage of the relay.
Hudspith, who competes in this weekend's Great South Run over 10 miles as part of his preparation, said: "My runs in the recent Middlesbrough 10k and the Great North Run helped my selection.
"I have been running pretty well recently and, although I was not among the top 10 quickest at Sutton Coldfield - that race was over 6kms - the selectors must have noticed my recent form to give me the nod."
EKIDEN TEAM: Scott Overall (Blackheath and Bromley), 5k; Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham and Dist), 5k; Ian Boneham (Notts AC). 10k; Freya Murray (Chester-le-Street) 5k; Ian Hudspith (Morpeth) 10k; Caroline Hoyte (Arena 80), 7.195k.
ALTITUDE TRAINING: Freya Murray