15 MAR 2011 General News Manchester, UK

Thompson and Clitheroe join Manchester 10Km fields

Helen Clitheroe takes the European indoor 3000m title in Paris (Getty Images)Helen Clitheroe takes the European indoor 3000m title in Paris (Getty Images) © Copyright
European silver medallist Chris Thompson and Helen Clitheroe, fresh from her recent European Indoor 3000m success, will compete at the Bupa Great Manchester Run on 15 May.

The pair will carry British hopes at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race where a record field of 38,000 runners will line up for the ninth staging of the 10Km race.

Thompson currently faces the most difficult task of the duo when facing reigning champion Haile Gebrselassie and Australia's Craig Mottram, two rivals he knows well.

Last summer's European 10,000m silver medallist finished sixth and first Briton home when the legendary Ethiopian scored the second of his three Manchester victories in 2009, while last September Mottram narrowly beat him in a sprint finish for the Bupa Great Yorkshire Run title.

However the 29-year-old former European Under-23 gold medallist has established a much higher profile with some high quality displays since then and could become only the second British male ever to make the medallist's podium.

"Mo Farah, who beat Thompson for the Euro title in Barcelona last summer, is the only domestic runner to have achieved that feat in 2007 and I'm sure Chris will be determined to better that display by his great pal," said Peter Riley, the meeting's elite athlete’s coordinator. "Obviously Haile must start as everyone's favourite to add to his previous victories while Mottram has bounced back to top form after a serious leg injury. But I'm, sure Chris, who has been training well throughout the winter and is a very confident runner, will believe he can beat them."

Clitheroe, who stunned her rivals when at the age of 37 she claimed her Euro 3000m victory in Paris earlier this month, will be making her debut in the country's biggest 10Km event.
 
However the British 3000m Steeplechase record holder is no stranger to the distance and, in the past having an impressive Cross Country background, will not be overawed by the opposition.

"Coming from nearby Preston I'm sure there will be plenty of support for her and I'm sure her win in Paris will have made her determined to achieve more success this year," Riley said. "But as ever there will be a very strong field taking part, particularly African's who have done so well in past at the Bupa Great Manchester Run."

Organisers for the IAAF