CHRIS Thompson will aim to become the first British athlete to win three Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run titles when he takes to the streets of Glasgow on Sunday morning.
Thompson’s winning streak started in 2017 when he saw off the challenge of Callum Hawkins in the high-quality half marathon, and beat Commonwealth champion Mike Shelley a year ago to seal back to back victories.
Now Thompson, who won last weekend’s Simplyhealth Great East Run half marathon in Ipswich, is targeting a unique treble in Scotland on a course he knows extremely well.
“I’m looking forward to defend my title up in Glasgow. No Briton has won it three times in a row so it would be nice to get that record.
“I know the course well now so hopefully that’ll give me an edge, and what I also know is that the support on the streets will be as good as ever.
“Glaswegians really know their sport and they always turn out in force to support the athletes, which makes this race a special one to come back to.”
The Briton is going to need to lean on his experience as he faces off against strong competition, with Kenyans Stephen Kiprop, Micah Kogo and Uganda’s Timothy Toroitich also announced for Scotland’s biggest running event. New Zealand’s Zane Robertson will also be in contention to remove Thompson from the throne.
Aged 20, Kiprop is something of a sensation having already taken some major scalps in his fledgling international career. In February he became the fastest teenager over the half marathon and the ninth fastest 13.1mile time in history when he clocked 58.42 on his way to winning the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) race, billed as the fastest half marathon in the world.
Kogo is no slouch either, with the former 10K world record holder the proud owner of a 59.07 personal best, while Toroitich took bronze in 2018’s Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff.
Robertson, 29, has perhaps the most interesting backstory of the contenders in Glasgow, having moved from his native New Zealand to Iten, in Kenya, along with his twin brother Jake.
Aged 17, they lived in a mud hut where they learned their trade among some of Africa’s best runners. Now 12 years on, the hard work has paid off, with Zane holding the New Zealand national record over the half marathon and 10,000m, and both brothers comfortably in the top five of all time over 5,000m, 10,000m and 13.1miles in their home country.
Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run half marathon will also boast a packed field of Scotland’s best amateur athletes, with Sean Fontana, Ben Johnson, Weynay Ghebresilasie, Kenny Wilson and Lachlan Oates all toeing the start line on Sunday.
In the women’s race, Edith Chelimo will be the one to watch in a race won last year by Mare Dibaba.
The Kenyan raced to victory in last year’s Cardiff Half Marathon in 65.52 which placed her in the top ten all-time half marathon rankings.
Compatriot Nancy Kiprop will provide competition. The veteran athlete, 40, will arrive in Glasgow in good form having won the Vienna Marathon this year.
Ethiopia’s Askale Merachi, having won the LA Marathon earlier this year will also be challenging for honours in the famous race which will once again be broadcast live.
British interest will come in the form of Annabel Simpson, Laura Bowman, Calli Thackery and Katie White.
In the wheelchair race, British Paralympian Sammi Kinghorn will continue her preparations for the IPC World Championships in Dubai, while Patrick Monahan will be aiming to record back to back victories in the men’s race. Sam Kolek, Sean Frame and Kyle Brotherton will all be in contention.
The 10K and Half Marathon events will be streamed live from 11.15-13.15 on the BBC Sport Website.
The whole weekend will be covered in a highlights programme on Monday 30 September at 7pm on BBC Scotland.
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