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Great South Run 2012

Thousands of runners have taken to the streets of Southsea this weekend for the biggest-ever Great South Run.

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South ready to run

Athletes get ready to run Credit: ITV Meridian

Olympic medallists Tariku Bekele and Abel Kirui will lead the overseas visitors for the Bupa Great South Run on Sunday, but a head-to-head confrontation between four top British women led by Jo Pavey looks likely to overshadow their high profile appearances.

Bekele and Kirui, both 2012 Olympic medallists, are the main contenders for the men's title at the IAAF Gold Label event in Portsmouth.

Apart from Mo Farah’s victory three years ago, the Bupa Great South Run has been dominated by African runners since German Stéphane Franke claimed his 1998 success.

Leading the British challenge will be USA-based Andrew Lemoncello, who after a lengthy absence won last month's Denver half marathon, followed with second position at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run and Jonny Mellor - a surprise winner of last month's Bupa Great Yorkshire Run.

The women's elite race promises to be a fascinating engagement with the evergreen 39-year-old veteran Pavey bidding to regain the title she won in 2006 facing a posse of much younger rivals, including fellow Team GB Olympians Julia Bleasdale and Claire Hallissey.

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  • Great South Run 2012

    Thousands of runners are preparing to take to the streets of Southsea this weekend for the biggest-ever Great South Run.