McColgan storms to Great South Run title on her 10-mile debut

Great South Run

Eilish McColgan made an emphatic debut over 10-miles with victory in the Simplyhealth Great South Run in Portsmouth. Photo credit: Great Run Company / Peter Langdown

European 5000m silver medallist Eilish McColgan and Chris Thompson won the elite races at the 28th edition of the Simplyhealth Great South Run, a five-star certified road race by European Athletics Running for All, on Sunday (21).

While Thompson created race history by winning his third successive 10-mile title in Portsmouth, McColgan was making her racing debut at the distance. It proved to be a successful one, pulling away from teammate Steph Twell in the last two miles to win in 54:43.

The roll-of-honour in Portsmouth is an illustrious one with athletes of the calibre of Derartu Tulu, Sonia O'Sullivan, Paula Radcliffe, Tirunesh Dibaba and Vivian Cheruiyot among the former champions in Portsmouth. McColgan also follows in the footsteps of her coach and mother Liz, the winner of the Great South Run in 1995 and 1997.

“That was such a strange experience,” McColgan told Athletics Weekly after her debut win. “I didn’t know what to expect and to be honest that was probably what helped in a way. My mum said to me: ‘Don’t look at your watch, don’t look at times, just be competitive and race the other girls,’ and that’s what I did today.”

McColgan has aspirations of moving to the roads after her track career ends but her next main target is the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow from 1-3 March. McColgan won bronze over 3000m in Belgrade last March behind Laura Muir and Yasemin Can, the first major medal of her career.

Chris Thompson won his third successive title in the Simplyhealth Great South Run. Photo credit: Great Run Company / Peter Langdown
Chris Thompson won his third successive title in the Simplyhealth Great South Run. Photo credit: Great Run Company / Peter Langdown

Thompson made the final touches to his preparations for the New York Marathon next month with his third successive victory, winning in a lifetime best of 46:56 ahead of Andy Vernon in 47:29.

“I can’t emphasise how happy I am, but at the same time – New York. I’ve got to turn my attention to that now. This is all great but I will be miserable for months if I don’t get two weeks’ time right,” he told Athletics Weekly.

The event offers a unique opportunity to run through Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, passing iconic landmarks such as HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose Museum.

On Sunday, 20,000 participants descended on the city for the main 10-mile event, including club runners, charity fundraisers and those taking part for a personal challenge.

The weekend of sport kicked off on Saturday with the new Simplyhealth Canine Run. In a first for the Simplyhealth Great Run Series, 100 dogs took part in a 2.5k run with their owners, starting and finishing on Clarence Esplanade.

The programme also included the Great South 5K as well as the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run.

Entries are already open for the 2019 Simplyhealth Great South Run which will take place on Sunday 20 October.

The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.

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