Simplyhealth Great South Run – a look forward to this weekend’s 10-miler
THE REIGNING CHAMPIONS ARE BACK FOR THE 10-MILE EVENT IN PORTSMOUTH THIS WEEKEND
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 greatrun.org/south
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