City of Portsmouth are hoping to make a powerful impact at the South of England Road Relay Championships.
A strong quartet go into action at today’s event in Aldershot and are aiming to be in the shake-up at the front end of the field.
Karrie Blake, Jess Chen, Emma Gilmore and Cassie Thorp will make up the City team aiming to get among the honours.
And Portsmouth coach Gerry North is quietly confident the group will make a strong impact.
He said: ‘Aldershot have often dominated the race in the past.
‘But Steph Twell has been injured and they may not be as strong as usual.
‘Last year, they won it with Arena 80 second and Serpentine Running Club third.
‘We would be hopeful of being able to get in the top three with the team we have.
‘There is a good sense of camaraderie among the girls.
‘They are all excited about the race and what they can do.’
Thorp will be hoping to build on her flying performance at the Victory 5 last weekend, where she took the women’s title and hacked 59 seconds off her personal best.
That saw Thorp fly to the top of the national rankings at under-23 level, as she announced her promise at national level.
Now the former Pompey Ladies footballer will be looking to build on that performance as she runs in the relay event.
The race is split into four legs of 4km at the Rushmoor Arena.
Chen, who is set to begin her studies at Oxford University, will run the first leg for her team.
The teenager will then hand over to Gilmore, before Blake takes the third leg.
It will then be down to Thorp to bring the team home in the race finale.
North believes it’s the first City squad that is capable of making an impact at the event for the some time.
He said: ‘We’ve got a strong team over all four legs.
‘Cassie will take the last leg and will be aiming to bring the team home with a good finish.
‘I think we’ve got as good a chance as anyone with the team we have.
‘It’s a chance for the senior women to do well at the race for the first time in a while.’