Team Gb Olympians Return To Take On Great South Run

Great Comeback 3

With limited entries remaining for the Great South Run, the Great South Run 5k and the Junior and Mini Great South Run, sign up now to avoid dissappointment: Greatrun.org/South

British bragging rights will be up for grabs as a top-class domestic field will battle it out in the Great South Run.

Team GB Olympians Andy Vernon and Ross Millington will take on the rejuvenated Chris Thompson in the world’s leading ten-mile race on Sunday, October 23 in Southsea in Portsmouth.

Both Vernon and Millington represented their nation in the 10,000m in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer where compatriot Mo Farah took the gold medal, and will line up again on the south coast, where they will be aiming to become the first British male winner since Farah’s victory in 2009.

Meanwhile, Thompson made a welcome return to form in the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run a fortnight ago, finishing fourth in the half marathon in 61.48.

The 35-year-old veteran, who like Vernon is a member of Aldershot, Farnham and District, will be taking on his fifth Great South Run – and he readily admits he is yet to perfect the ten-mile distance.

“I’ve ran far quicker in a ten-mile split in a half marathon than I have ran on that course, and it’s not because I’m not in good shape, it’s because I haven’t got it right,” said Thompson, who will be defending his title in the Great Birmingham Run when he returns to the Second City this weekend.

“I think that for me is going to be a bit of a challenge in itself, it’s me against the course. I haven’t had a race where the last two miles hasn’t been a tripping over myself experience. Not because of the wind, I’ve ran that without wind in the last two miles, and just misjudged it.

“There’s a bit of a demon there for me to overcome. It’s an awkward distance. For some reason there’s always a distance that athletes like, and that athletes don’t like. That ten miles for me is a tough event and I am primarily looking at how to conquer that.”

In Vernon and Millington, Thompson will be up against two 10,000m athletes in top form currently, but Thompson, who finished 11th in last year’s event, believes the ‘tricky’ distance does not necessarily favour specialists over the shorter distance.

He added: “I’ve attacked it like it’s a 10k and I haven’t had the gas to get to the finish, and I’ve approached it like a half marathon and I haven’t gone out hard enough. The last two miles are so tough to pick up any ground.

“If I had to pick a fitness level I’d rather be in, I’d lean towards being 10k shape being better. I’ve attacked it like a 10k and it’s absolutely destroyed me because there’s four miles extra. It’s three miles short of a half marathon. It’s a tricky distance, one which I haven’t yet mastered.”

Thompson, Vernon and Millington face domestic opposition in the shape of Jonny Mellor, Scott Overall and Adam Clarke, with USA’s Jeffery Eggleston and Ireland’s Paul Pollock providing the main overseas interest.

The world’s leading 10 mile run starts and finishes in Southsea and gives participants a unique opportunity to run through Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, passing iconic landmarks such as HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose Museum.

The flat course has been graced by world-class athletes such as Liz McColgan, Paula Radcliffe, Sonia O’Sullivan, and Mo Farah, who won the men’s race in 2009.

The event has grown into a festival of sport in Portsmouth and Southsea, with around 30,000 people taking part in four events across two days, including the Junior & Mini Great South Run and the Great South Run 5k.

With limited entries remaining for the Great South Run, the Great South Run 5k and the Junior and Mini Great South Run, sign up now to avoid dissappointment: Greatrun.org/South