Great South Run darling out to kick-start Olympic dream

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JO PAVEY is preparing to show some Morrisons Great South Run grit to kick-start her Olympic dream

The hugely-popular two-time winner of the race returns to the streets of Portsmouth and Southsea tomorrow.

Jo Pavey. Picture: Peter Langdown

Jo Pavey. Picture: Peter Langdown

Pavey remains one of the most loved figures to have ever taken part in Europe’s premier 10-mile race.

After successes in 2006 and 2012 the 42-year-old, who memorably won European Championship gold over 10,000m just 10 months after giving birth, has more modest ambitions for tomorrow’s race. But there are lofty aims moving forward with Pavey aiming to make next year’s Olympic Games for a phenomenal fifth time.

That would make her one of 22 people to have ever achieved that incredible feat.

Pavey said: ‘I’m pleased to be out there racing still.

I’m 42 and should be long retired!

Jo Pavey

‘I’m getting older now – I’m 42 and should be long retired!

‘I’ve had the summer off because it’s been busy for me.

‘I have a big target of trying to make the Olympics next year.

‘It’s going to be tough to get into the team but it’s something I want to do. This is the perfect opportunity to toughen up a bit because I’m going to need a hard winter’s training.

‘It’s the big motivation for me.

‘I’m not saying it’s going to happen because it’s going to be tough to get into the team.

‘But it’s a big target. It’s not easy but it’s something I’m going to try to do.’

Pavey knows she faces tough opposition tomorrow but that fails to dampen her passion for the event.

She said: ‘It’s a pleasure to run with all these thousands of athletes, all with their own goals. I just love this event. It’s a whole festival of running.

‘The Historic Dockyard and having a race by the sea is a beautiful thing.

‘I have fond memories of my previous wins.

‘This year is a really competitive race, though.

‘You have the world champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, obviously, Betsy Signe and Gemma Steel.

‘There are so many tough athletes. It will be a tough race but you expect that from the Great South Run – because it attracts the best runners in the world.’