British star signals Great South intent

British athlete Jo Pavey

British athlete Jo Pavey

Lachlan Wellington. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Opening night for the Lakeside 5k Series

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Jo Pavey has signalled her intent to challenge for a second Bupa Great South Run title in October.

The British international was a last-minute withdrawal from the 2010 race, as she was struck down by flu.

Pavey, who took the crown in 2006, was left frustrated as she missed the opportunity to complete a double in the world’s top 10-mile race.

Now the former champion has delighted organisers of the IAAF Gold Label – the highest accolade for any road running meeting – event by making an early statement of her desire to return.

And is set to line-up alongside a record-breaking entry of 24,000.

‘I’m really hoping to be in Portsmouth,’ said the 37-year-old, who is already training hard ahead of a demanding schedule this year.

‘Apart from having scored a very satisfying victory in 2006, it is a fast, flat course which really suits my style of running.

‘I was really gutted after missing out in 2010, as I was coming back into good form after a toe injury prevented me competing at the European track championships.’

Pavey is aiming to put a dis-appointing year behind her and reckons the south-coast contest can be a springboard to success in London 2012.

‘Really 2010 just wasn’t my year,’ she said.

‘I was hoping to make my marathon debut as well, as I want to run the distance at the 2012 London Games.

‘Hopefully, injuries and illness will now be a thing of the past and I can put up a good show in the Virgin London Marathon and get the Olympic qualifying time.

‘Then the Bupa Great South Run, in what is always a fast 10-mile race, should fit in perfectly.

‘It should offer me the opportunity to build up speed, which is a necessity for marathon runners these days.’

Pavey’s decision to target the race so early in the year will assist the organisers’, Nova Internationals, ambitions to attract a solid field for the 22nd staging of the meeting.

‘Jo has always been a great supporter of the Bupa Great Run series, having also won another of our flagship events in Manchester over 10k on two occasions,’ said David Hart, the event’s communications director.

‘It will be great if we can welcome back such a highly experienced athlete and she would be a strong contender to lift another title.’

Hart expressed delight the 21st anniversary staging of the Bupa Great South Run in was such a great success, with reigning IAAF cross country champion Joseph Ebuya and Commonwealth Games 10,000m gold medallist Grace Momyani, scoring outstanding victories.

Hart added: ‘We were del-ighted by the strength of both fields, especially the fact that the Bupa Great South Run attracted a glittering line up of Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champions.’

Over 12,000 entries have already been received for the run on Sunday, October 30, which also features the junior and mini events 24 hours earlier.

Details on how to enter are at greatrun.org

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