Bonus race can help set Jo Pavey on the road to 2016 Rio Olympics

Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun takes place every Saturday at 9am

Fast progress at Lakeside parkrun

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Great Britain star Jo Pavey hopes racing in Portsmouth can help propel her towards the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 42-year-old star is aiming for a fifth appearance at the world’s greatest multi-sport spectacle.

Jo Pavey

Jo Pavey

If she can qualify for Rio it will cap what has been a remarkable run for the Exeter Harrier.

Pavey’s stunning performances on the track last year captured the public imagination.

She secured Commonwealth 5,000m bronze in Glasgow and European 10,000m gold in Zurich.

Now the Morrisons Great South Run is her next big event on Sunday, October 25, ahead of aiming to reach Rio.

Pavey said: ‘I thought I’d be retired years ago so it’s always such a bonus to be able to come and compete here at the Morrisons Great South Run.

‘I’ll always run but I didn’t think I would still be trying to enter the races in this way.

‘I just feel like it’s a real bonus and also it is a good race to help me get strong for the winter because my big goal is to try to make a fifth Olympics in Rio next year.

‘It’s going to be tough. I’m not complacent about it. It is going to be hard to qualify.

‘There are a lot of good girls in the country.

‘It’s just a goal that I have got. If I achieve it then good. If I don’t, I don’t.

‘It’s just something that is keeping my motivation going.

‘I need to enter exciting races like the Great South Run to help prepare for that.’

Pavey has become an inspiration to so many people who are getting into running and fulfilling their own potential.

What she achieved in the championships on the track last year was one of the great stories for British athletics.

Undoubtedly many of the thousands taking part in the Great South Run will have been encouraged to get out running by Pavey’s performances.

Pavey added: ‘It is very kind of people who say they have been motivated to now get fit when they are a busy parent – or when they are old like me!

‘That is always nice when people say that.

‘I’ve been surprised how being a busy mum and juggling everything and being a bit older actually has led me to be able to achieve some of my goals.

‘It’s just because I feel happy and I have got that balance in my life.

‘That’s really nice when people have said that they have found they can get out when they are a busy parent.

‘You can make your fitness work around your family.’