EDINBURGH Southern Harriers' best ever field for their annual City of

Edinburgh road races was just under 500, but tomorrow 3200 -- more than

a quarter of them women -- will go to the start in Holyrood Park at 10am

for the inaugural Great Caledonian Run.

The 10,000 metres race has been revitalised with a transfusion from

BUPA, the private health-care company, who are backing a series of such

events throughout the UK.

However, the capital's council seem not to perceive the event as

politically correct, otherwise competitors would surely have been

allowed to use Meadowbank stadium for changing, rather than peel off in

a public park.

London marathon winner Eamonn Martin is using this as his second

comeback run after the foot-arch injury which forced him off the track

at the Europa Cup during the summer.

''I am in good shape, training wise, but I am short of races,'' said

Martin last night. ''I've had a very frustrating summer, but I am back

on course, and this will have no impact on my ambitions for next year.''

Martin, who plans a spring marathon, has a meeting with London

director David Bedford next week to thrash out a deal. He says he will

not be chasing anything like the #500,000 three-year contract understood

to be enjoyed by Liz McColgan. ''I will not be pinpointing that,'' he

confided. ''London is certainly favourite, but I'd also like to do the

10,000 metres at the European championships, and possibly the 5000m at

the Commonwealths.''

Paul Davies-Hale will renew rivalry with Kenya's Joseph Kibor, whom he

beat in a sprint to the line over the same distance last weekend in


But there is strong opposition, including Ethiopian Tadesse Kaese, the

world junior half-marathon champion, Gary Staines, the reigning European

5000m silver medallist, and Steve Brace, who beat Davies-Hale in last

year's Olympic marathon.

The host club's former London marathon winner, Allister Hutton, is

suffering from a cold and has withdrawn, and leading Scots John Robson,

Tommy Murray, Alastair Walker, and Gary Grindlay will be up against it

in the chase for the #500 first prize.

The women's race favourite is the Russian, Lyudmila Borisova, fourth

in the 3000m at the grand-prix final in London last month. Scottish

opposition is headed by Lynn McIntyre, the national 3000m champion, Sue

Ridley, and Carol Sharp.

The route includes the Grassmarket and Princes Street, and the event

also includes a 7500m wheelchair race. Martin and Steve Cram are

available to all athletes for questioning at a free clinic tonight in

the Scandic Crown Hotel (6pm).