Chris Thompson To Defend Great South Run Title

Great Britain’s Chris Thompson will defend his Simplyhealth Great South Run title at the world’s leading 10-mile event in Portsmouth this weekend.

The 36-year-old scored a memorable victory on the Southsea coast last year as he outsprinted Andy Vernon to the finish, and the European 10,000m silver medallist has been confirmed to return to the south coast on Sunday.

Thompson prepared in scintillating fashion a fortnight ago when he upset the odds to beat Callum Hawkins to the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run half marathon title.

Thompson, a regular at Great South Runs in recent years, goes from outsider to favourite with the home support expected to be right behind the Aldershot Farnham and District athlete come Sunday.

Thompson said: “I’ve been coming here for years and it was such a relief last year to finally win. It meant so much to me and this will be my motivation on Sunday.

“The body takes longer to get going these days so we will see how it responds once the race gets underway, but I am hoping for another good day at what is a fantastic event.”

In the women’s race, Charlotte Purdue and Gemma Steel will battle it out for honours. Purdue finished second in the Great Scottish Run half marathon after her 13th place in the marathon at the World Athletics Championships in London this summer, and hopes to follow that up with victory in the fast and flat 10-mile race, which will be broadcast live on Channel 5.

AFD’s Purdue said: “I always enjoy competing at the Simplyhealth Great South Run, it’s almost a home race for me since it’s so close to where I live, and the support from the crowd is always spot on.

“If the wind is kind to us it makes for very fast times and I hope that will be the case on Sunday.”

Steel, meanwhile, is in good form after a strong summer of training with her sixth place in September’s Simplyhealth Great North Run once again outlining her potential.

The 2014 European Cross Country Champion began her year with a win over the 10km at the Great Ireland Run and will aim to finish 2017 in a similar fashion.

Tracy Barlow, who also represented Great Britain over the marathon in this summer’s World Championships, will challenge Purdue and Steel in a largely domestic field which incorporates the English 10 Mile Championships. Katrina Wootton is also expected to be in the mix.

Wootton, who finished a creditable third in May’s Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run, will be joined by Winchester’s Louise Damen, who represented Great Britain in the 2014 Commonwealth Games over the marathon distance.

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

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