Thorp hangs up boots as she focuses on road ahead

Former Pompey Ladies footballer Cassie Thorp
Former Pompey Ladies footballer Cassie Thorp
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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 has hung up her football boots in a bid to make it in the running world.

Thorp has swapped Portsmouth Ladies FC for City of Portsmouth AC as she aims to make an impact in athletics.

The former England under-17 squad member made the tough decision to leave football, knowing she needs to focus her attentions fully if she is to make a breakthrough.

That meant the 23-year-old leaving the team-mates she had become close with to up her training with new coach Gerry North.

Thorp believes it will be a sacrifice worth making, however.

And she aims to put all her energies into developing into a middle-distance talent.

Thorp said: ‘Running has become quite a serious thing for me quite quickly. I came to the end of the road with Portsmouth Ladies.

‘I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had been doing and I had always enjoyed running.

‘Leaving football was not really an issue in the end but being invovled in the team and the camarderie was something I enjoyed.

‘It became a case of “do you want to hold on to that or try to achieve something with the running?”

‘So Gerry has taken me under his wing and I’ve loved it.

‘It’s given me a new motivation and new goals to focus on achieving.’

It was Thorp’s efforts at the Great South Run over the past two years which saw her first come to City’s attentions.

She clocked times of 62 and 61 minutes respectively, which spoke of the raw ability North is hopeful of honing.

North has a couple of races earmarked for Thorp next month and she has already made decent strides in the eight weeks she has been with City.

North said: ‘We all noticed Cassie’s times at the Great South Run, which were faster than a few women in the elite race.

‘So we found her, had a chat and she came down to the track one night.

‘I think there is definitely potential there.

‘You can’t play football and run as well. You can’t do both.

‘So she has decided to concentrate on her running.

‘We have scheduled her to run in the right races and we will see what happens.

‘She’s never really raced before but we are hoping she can slowly progress.

‘She is training hard and we are really excited about what she can do.’