Cassie’s proving she’s already a class act

21/5/2011 (SPORT) SOUTHERN ATHLETICS LEAGUE''The Southern Athletics League took place at the Mountbatten Centre on Saturday 21st May 2011.''Pictured is: Cassie Thorp during the 3000m ladies race.''Picture: Sarah Standing (111893-5531)
21/5/2011 (SPORT) SOUTHERN ATHLETICS LEAGUE''The Southern Athletics League took place at the Mountbatten Centre on Saturday 21st May 2011.''Pictured is: Cassie Thorp during the 3000m ladies race.''Picture: Sarah Standing (111893-5531)
City of Portsmouth's Hattie Locke. Picture: Sarah Standing (170665-8701)

Series rivals set for fourth race in Lakeside 5k Series

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Cassie Thorp will get the chance to tussle with Paula Radcliffe at the BUPA London 10000 on Monday.

City of Portsmouth’s promising talent faces the dream scenario of going up against the likes of the marathon world-record holder in the capital.

Thorp will be in the elite start with the likes of Radcliffe, who makes her return to racing after 18 months, as well as Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jo Pavey.

The 23-year-old will be going into a field with huge depth, with a host of runners who are capable of running 10K times inside 33 minutes.

But Thorp is champing at the bit and gunning to get involved in some big race action, with the prestigious event doubling up as the UK Championships.

The former Pompey Ladies footballer is new to the running game, but has already shown her quality.

And now she can’t wait to mix it with elite-level opposition over 10K.

Thorp’s coach Gerry North said: ‘It’s a remarkably strong field for the race so Cassie is looking forward to getting in there with them.

‘She will assemble with the elite athletes, and I think she thought the idea of doing that with the likes of Paula Radcliffe was pretty cool – I’ve told her not to try to stay with her!

‘The names go on and on for who are competing.

‘There’s loads of people who can run 32 or 33-minute times.

‘I’m sure Cassie will be a little nervous.

‘But this a big experience for her. It gives her that experience of the big time.

‘She has been going well in training and I think she is looking forward to it.

‘Cassie ran 35min 42sec at Eastleigh. We think she can get inside 35 minutes, so we’re aiming for a personal best.’

Checking on Thorp’s progress along with the other talents he coaches, it’s a busy time for North.

He is also the race director for the Promenade 10K and D-Day 10K races.

The second round of the five-race Promenade series takes place next Wednesday, with the D-Day race following on Sunday.

The UK Women’s League is also due to start up for Dave Churcher’s squad next Saturday.

That follows on from the Southern League fixtures on home soil last weekend, where both the men and women’s squads were winners to continue their pacesetting form at the top of their respective tables.

North said: ‘It’s a busy time for us all at the moment.’