Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan plans to regain her world 10-mile record and defend her Great South Run title in Portsmouth tomorrow. The Olympic silver medallist clocked exactly 51 minutes on the fast south coast course last year only to see Lornah Kiplagat lower her time by six seconds two weeks later in Holland.
But now O'Sullivan, after a solid 10km victory in last Sunday's Great Ireland Run, believes she is in the right shape for another record attempt.
Although Paula Radcliffe went through the distance in 50min 1sec during her Great North Run victory, that time is not acknowledged as the world's best performance. "I recognise the 50:54 ran by Kiplagat, because that is what the clock stopped at the end of the race," O'Sullivan said. "The 10-mile point comes on the downhill stretch of the Great North."
Colin Goater, the race director, admitted that a few changes have been made to the route which should enable O'Sullivan to achieve her goal. "We've made minor changes to the course to help her run faster," he said.
O'Sullivan added: "I know what it's like to run 51 minutes for 10 miles. Now I'm hoping if I can keep up with some of the men expecting to achieve that time in the race, I can challenge Kiplagat's mark. My preparations have gone really well and, unlike last year where I was getting ready to run a marathon, on this occasion I have focused on the race."