20th October 2018
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS THOMPSON & STEEL OUT TO RETAIN GREAT SOUTH RUN TITLES
Defending Great South Run champions Chris Thompson (coach: Alan Storey; club: Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Gemma Steel (Liz Nuttall; Charnwood) will hit the roads of Portsmouth looking to defend their titles this weekend.
Thompson could make history if he is first to cut the tape in the senior men’s race, becoming the first man in the event’s 29-year history to win three consecutive titles.
Victory would also draw him level with Gary Staines, who has three senior men’s titles to his name. Until Thompson’s success last year, Staines was the only man to have taken consecutive Great South Run titles, doing so in 1993 and 1994.
His strongest challenger is likely to be Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau; Aldershot, Farnham & District), who will look to back up his Manchester Half Marathon title he achieved last weekend with victory in Portsmouth.
Defending Cross Challenge champion Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton) will look continue his return to fitness with the race, and European Cross Country team bronze medallist Alex Teuten (Roderick Lock; Southampton) is also in action.
Steel headlines the senior women’s field looking to become the first woman to take consecutive titles since 2003, when Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan clocked a course record 51:00 on her way to her second straight victory.
Having produced a strong finish for Team England at the Commonwealth Half Marathon, and taking victory in the Great Scottish 10Kin recent weeks, she looks in good shape to complete her double in Portsmouth.
European 5000m silver medallist Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall; Dundee Hawkhill) will make her debut over 10 miles in Portsmouth and will be hopeful of a strong performance. The race will be the first time in her career she has competitively run more than 10,000m.
McColgan will hope to follow in the footsteps of her coach and mother, Liz, twice a winner of the Great South Run, but both will have to overcome some seasoned long-distance runners to do so.
Their main competition will come in the form of defending British 5000m outdoor champion specialist Steph Twell (Geoff Wightman; Aldershot, Farnham & District), who claimed her fourth title this year and produced a strong seventh place finish at the Commonwealth Half Marathon
Two-time winner Jo Pavey (Gavin Pavey; Exeter) could make it a record third title if she were to stop the clock first on the South Coast having previously won in 2006 and 2012. Commonwealth Games and European Championships marathon finalist Caryl Jones (self; Swansea) will also be in the mix.
The race will be shown live on Channel 5 from 10am – 12pm.