Sim­ply­health Great South Run – a look for­ward to this week­end’s 10-miler


Athletics Weekly - - News -

CHRIS THOMP­SON is gun­ning for a Sim­ply­health Great South Run first when he de­fends his ti­tle at the 10-mile race in Portsmouth on Sun­day.

The 37-year-old has won the last two races on the south coast and vic­tory this week­end will make it an un­prece­dented hat-trick as he lines up for the sev­enth time in the world­fa­mous race.

No ath­lete has won three con­sec­u­tive Great South Runs – and only Gary Staines has won three in to­tal in the race’s 29year his­tory.

Thomp­son, fresh from win­ning his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Bank of Scot­land Great Scot­tish Run a fort­night ago, will go up against Alder­shot, Farn­ham & Dis­trict team-mate Andy Ver­non, who was forced to pull out of the half marathon in Glas­gow ow­ing to food poi­son­ing but who won last week­end’s Manch­ester Half­Marathon.

Also lin­ing up in the men’s race is 2012 Olympian Scott Over­all, Libya’s Mo­hammed Hrezi and Euro Cross team bronze medal­list Alex Teuten.

Thomp­son, who com­petes in the TCS New York City Marathon next month, said:

“I’d be ab­so­lutely de­lighted to make it three wins in a row in Portsmouth. It’s a race which is close to my heart and to win it for the first time in 2016 was a mas­sive mo­ment for me.

“Every­thing is go­ing in the right di­rec­tion at the mo­ment as New York draws near. I thor­oughly en­joyed the vic­tory in Glas­gow two weeks ago and I’m de­ter­mined to con­tinue the good work into this race.”

Another ath­lete aim­ing for a re­peat per­for­mance is Gemma Steel, who will re­turn to the south coast a year after her win in the 2017 stag­ing of the race.

The 32-year-old tasted vic­tory in the Bank of Scot­land Great Scot­tish Run 10km a fort­night ago and rep­re­sented Eng­land in the Com­mon­wealth Half Marathon staged in Cardiff ear­lier this month.

De­spite vic­to­ries over 10km in Gateshead and Glas­gow this year, Steel has strug­gled to repli­cate the form that saw her achieve the third fastest 10km in Bri­tish his­tory and will go up against two dis­tance run­ning heavy­weights in Steph Twell and Jo Pavey.

Twell showed her ver­sa­til­ity ear­lier this year when she rep­re­sented Scot­land over 1500m, 3000m and 5000m in the Com­mon­wealth Games on the Gold Coast, while flex­ing her mus­cles over the half marathon in Cardiff a week ago.

She made her Great South Run de­but in 2010 which re­mains her sole 10-mile out­ing to date.

Pavey, how­ever, is no stranger to Portsmouth, hav­ing won on two oc­ca­sions in 2006 and 2012. The hugely-ex­pe­ri­enced Olympian is still go­ing strong at the age of 45 and will be among the lead­ing con­tenders for the race.

Mak­ing her 10-mile de­but will be Euro­pean medal­list Eil­ish McCol­gan. The daugh­ter of twotime Great South Run win­ner Liz took her first se­nior medal this year when she claimed sil­ver in the 5000m in Ber­lin. How­ever the Scot­tish in­ter­na­tional has not raced fur­ther than 10km in her ca­reer to date.

The Sim­ply­health Great South Run is tele­vised live on Chan­nel 5 on Sun­day from 10am un­til 12.15pm. See

Chris Thomp­son: hopes another good run will set him up for the TCS New YorkCity Marathon next month

Gemma Steel: faces Jo Pavey, Steph Twell and Eil­ish McCol­gan

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