Great South Run victory the target on Portsmouth favourite Andy Vernon’s homecoming

Stubbington's Andy Vernon. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Stubbington's Andy Vernon. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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Andy Vernon has targeted Simplyhealth Great South Run glory on his Portsmouth homecoming.

Stubbington’s former double European Championship medallist returns to his home city on Sunday with victory the aim as he takes on the world’s biggest 10-mile race.

Vernon will be aiming to stop Aldershot, Farnham & District team-mate Chris Thompson making it a hat-trick of victories on his turf.

The 32-year-old will be banking on a partisan home support to back his assault after a win at the Manchester Half-Marathon last Sunday.

And, after finishing second on his last Great South Run outing two years ago, Vernon knows there may be few better chances remaining in his running career to deliver success.

Vernon said: ‘I want to win it.

‘It’s Portsmouth – my home city.

‘It’s a race I really want to win at one point in my life and I’m running out of years!

‘I’ve been second, third and fourth, so I’m due a win. Either that or fifth!

‘We’ll see how are my legs are feeling and, hopefully, I can go out there and give the crowd a good win.

‘There’s the home support and that will make a difference cheering me on.

‘It’s one of the better courses for on-course crowds, because they’re pretty much everywhere.

‘The crowds are strong in numbers down towards the end and hopefully that can help me.’

Vernon will gear up for action by taking in Pompey’s meeting with Fleetwood, before tackling the likes of Thompson, Libya’s Mohammed Hrezi and Southsea’s European Cross-Country Championship team bronze medallist Alex Teuten.

He is hopeful he will be able to go out and put on a spectacle.

Vernon added: ‘Certainly, Chris Thompson will be a threat.

‘I know Chris is gearing up for the New York Marathon.

‘He’s in marathon training and will be a little heavy in the legs as well.

‘I don’t know if he will be easing back or not.

‘I don’t know how much he’s done. I’ve spoken to him but it’s not something you really ask.

‘But that makes is more exciting. Is he going to try to break me early on? Or will he be hanging on after a few miles because he’s done 120 miles this week?

‘Hopefully we can make a good race of it and see who’s not fatiguing the quickest by the end.

‘It will be nice to have a good race which pleases the crowd and makes good TV.’