Thompson already eyeing up a Great South three-timer

Gemma Steel wins the Great South Run. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

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Running from the front: thousands of people joined the Great South Run 2017   Image: Byron Melton

Joyful joggers cross the finish line on a windy Great South Run

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Chris Thompson has already set his sights on a hat-trick of Great South Run titles after his victory in this year’s event.

The 36-year-old battled through windswept conditions on Southsea seafront to record his second successive victory in the race – becoming the first person since Gary Staines in 1994 to complete the feat.

Chris Thompson, centre. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Chris Thompson, centre. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Thompson went into the contest in fine form having won the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow three weeks ago.

He was forced to abandon his usual front-running tactics in gusty conditions and displayed his adaptability and class to stop the clock on 48min 32sec – three seconds ahead of second-placed Matt Sharp (48.35).

The Aldershot, Farnham & District ace revealed before the race that a target was on his back going into it.

He was delighted to have recorded back-to-back wins and will return next year in the hunt for a three-timer.

Thompson said: ‘I’m absolutely over the moon to have recorded back-to-back titles.

‘Already now I can feel the pressure of a hat-trick.

‘My coach also trained Gary Staines and always talked about how good an athlete he was on this course.

‘I’ve got a lot to live up to but I’m really proud to do the double and put myself in the history books.

‘I hope I can keep myself in one piece and come back and complete a hat-trick because that would be even more 
special.

‘To win when everyone expects you to is almost a lose-lose, but to have done it makes that extra special.’

Thompson usually likes to stretch the field from the front in his races.

He was forced to abandon those tactics yesterday, however, and instead had Sharp and Ben Connor (48.36) to keep him company throughout the majority of the contest.

The pair pushed the Barrow-in-Furness talent all the way but battled gamely to get his head in front.

Thompson revealed it would have been wasted energy if he’d have opted to accelerate out in front because of the blustering winds.

He admitted he was forced out of his comfort zone and that made his success all the sweeter.

He added: ‘I felt like people where looking at me and were watching to see what I was going to do and run their race based off what I was doing.

‘I realised there was no running away from everyone because of the way conditions were.

‘To get a gap was going to take so much effort it wasn’t worth it, so I had to really think about it.

‘I was very heavily exposed to the shape and fitness I was in.

‘There were others in the race who I had no idea what shape they were in and they knew what they were up against.

‘It got me out of my comfort zone, especially the longer the race went on like that.

‘At some point, I had to make a move and I knew in the last two miles running into the headstrong wind that I had to really pick my moment.

‘Waiting for the ninth mile was tough to do – even then I thought I might have gone too early – but it paid off.’