Jo Pavey is targeting her return to Portsmouth as a fitting finale to her remarkable season.
The Great Britain star struck 10,000m gold at the recent European Championships – following 5,000m bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – to become the oldest female European champion in history at the age of 40.
Her success was even more incredible as it took place just 10 months after giving birth to her second child.
And Pavey – who has now turned 41 – is targeting a hat-trick of Great South Run successes on Sunday, October 26, after previous wins in 2006 and 2012.
She said: ‘It still feels a bit surreal that I won gold at the European Championships.
‘I’ve been trying for many years to get a gold medal and I never thought it would take me to the age of 40 – I can’t believe it took me that long to achieve it.
‘But I’m really chuffed about coming back to the Great South Run. It’s a great opportunity for me. I’ve had a long track season but it gives you that motivation to change your focus and put that mileage back in.
‘I’m really looking forward to it – I just absolutely love this race.
‘I love the course – it’s fast and flat – and I love the atmosphere.
‘It feels intimate to be out there running on the streets with people close by and cheering you on.
‘The people of Portsmouth really get behind it, so I’m pleased to be back.
‘Athletes from all over the world want to run in this race. It’s an amazing event.’
Entries are still available and Pavey urged anyone to get involved and join a field expected to hit the 25,000 mark.
She said: ‘To anyone thinking of running, I’d tell them to definitely go for it.
‘The 10-mile distance is something where you can cope with the training if you have got a busy working life.
‘Just get out there and enjoy the event because this crowd will get behind you.’
To sign up to the event, visit greatrun.org/south
– STEVE WILSON