Purdue sets sights on women’s title

Charlotte Purdue is targeting Great South Run success
Charlotte Purdue is targeting Great South Run success
The start of the Gosport Half Marathon race as James Baker, wearing 85, hits the front early on. Picture: Neil Marshall

Baker’s perfect timing with Gosport triumph

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Charlotte Purdue insists she has shaken off injury and is ready to lead the home challenge for the British women in tomorrow’s Great South Run.

The 20-year-old Olympic hopeful underwent knee surgery back in May but showed she was back to form and fitness with runners-up spot at the Great Edinburgh Run earlier this month.

The youngster has already been spoken of in the same breath as Paula Radcliffe and Steph Twell, after some impressive performances in the junior ranks. But she will be up against Ethiopia’s World Championship bronze medallist Asselefech Mergia and Kenya’s Irene Jerotich as she continues her quest for London 2012.

Purdue said: ‘I was quite surprised with how I ran in Edinburgh.

‘I knew I was fit but I didn’t know I was that fit.

‘I didn’t think I would produce that performance, so I was happy.

‘It’s gone pretty smoothly for me since I returned to running in July and I’ve had three races.

‘There are some top athletes here but I’m feeling fully fit again and I can’t wait to get started.’

Race organiser Colin Goater added: ‘We know the athletes enjoy the Portsmouth course and we are expecting some fast times across the board.’

Huge numbers of spectators are expected to show their support and line the course again this year with the first of the races – the women’s contest – starting at around 10.40am in Southsea.

The elite runners will set off just before the first wave of fun runners but with 24,000 entrants this year, there could well be a record field.