Maiden win for Thorp

Cassie Thorp, left, during her playing days with Pompey Ladies
Cassie Thorp, left, during her playing days with Pompey Ladies
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Champion Piotr Meller with duathlon organiser Rob Piggot.  Picture: Neil Marshall (170306-18)

Defending champion ready for Portsmouth Duathlon mission

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Cassie Thorp threw down a middle-distance marker as she stormed to victory at the Salisbury 10-mile road race.

City of Portsmouth’s fast-emerging talent picked up her first major race win with success at the Hampshire Road Race League event.

Her debut victory has come quickly for Thorp following her arrival at City, after deciding to give up playing football for Pompey Ladies.

That move is looking like a positive one for the 23-year-old as she clocked a time of 62min 11sec to comfortably cross the line first around a hilly circuit.

Thorp led from the outset and showed she is already making headway after taking to running.

She saw off the efforts of the likes of Winchester 10K winner Erica Fogg to make a statement of intent.

City of Portsmouth coach Gerry North lauded Thorp’s performance and early promise.

He believes the display will give her confidence and show Thorp the potential she has.

North said: ‘Cassie is chuffed to bits over the win, and quite right, too.

‘Her time was good on a hilly course and she was more than two minutes in front of second place.She was clear by the time the mile point came around.

‘She looked very confident and happy.

‘It’s certainly a sign of things to come from her.

‘It’s a first major win and is bound to give her self-belief a lift. She’s a lovely girl so everyone is really pleased for her, too.

‘There’s no doubt there’s still a lot more to come from her as well.’

Thorp wasn’t the only City member to compete in the race, with Chris Scott the ninth man home overall with a time 56.48.

Gavin Jones, who like Thorp has decided to quit football to concentrate on athletics, albeit only until the end of the season, was 34th.

The Moneyfields FC defender clocked a time of 60.35, while over-40 runner Sharon Baggaley finished in 77.38.

Now Thorp’s attention will turn to the Eastleigh 10K on Sunday, March 27.

That is gearing up to be a head-to-head with club-mate and training partner Karrie Blake, who is also scheduled to be involved.

Blake has been upping her schedule and training twice a day as her campaign gathers pace.

North is looking forward to seeing the two battle it out in a healthy rivalry.

He said: ‘Karrie is training hard at the moment and has the bit between the teeth.

‘She’s looking forward to the summer.

‘It will be good for the pair to have a bit of competition.

‘Karrie has the speed, while Cassie is more suited to distance.

‘It’s good for the club – and it will definitely be interesting to see them in the same race!’