A TOP athlete who represented Team GB at the Rio Olympics has confirmed her return to Helensburgh for this year's Babcock 10K Series.

Sonia Samuels is currently training in Monte Gordo in Portugal, where she prepared for December’s Valencia Marathon - a race she completed in 2:28:07, only three seconds outside her lifetime best, at the age of 44.
Samuels has represented Team GB in the World Championships, European Championships and England in the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, in addition to her appearance in Brazil at the 2016 Games.

Samuels won the Helensburgh race in 2022, setting a course record of 34:30 in the process.

She has a track best of 32:39 for 10,000 metres, so will be hoping to put her own course record under pressure.

She now coaches in addition to pursuing her own competitive career, and has prepared a 10-week coaching programme for beginner, intermediate and club level runners on the series' official website at babcock10kseries.co.uk.

Series chairman Kevin Johnson is also in discussion with 2021 Olympic marathon trials winner Chris Thompson, from Aldershot, about joining Samuels on the journey North.

Thompson, a similar age to Samuels, has displayed incredible longevity in his career, having outkicked Mo Farah over 5,000 metres in the European Under-23 Championships nearly a quarter of a century ago.

In recent years he has triumphed in the Great South Run in Portsmouth, the Great Bristol Run, The Great Birmingham Run and the Great North 10k, where he clocked 28:59 for the distance.

Thompson's best for 10,000 metres on the track is 27:27, which is considerably inside the Babcock Series record of 29:32.
Thompson is currently preparing for the Boston Marathon on Easter Monday and will confirm his participation after his trip to the USA.

More than 1,000 entries have now been received for the three-race series, which kicks off with the Babcock Shettleston 10K on Glasgow Green on Sunday May 12 at 10am, with a 2km family fun run taking place alongside the main event.

The Babcock Dumbarton 10K follows on Thursday, May 23 at 7.30pm, with the Babcock Helensburgh 10K rounding out the series on Thursday, May 30, again at 7.30pm.

The series is offering more than £6,000 in cash prizes and Start Fitness vouchers for the top ten male and female finishers, age group and team winners.

Every finisher in each race will receive a unique commemorative medal and different item of Start Fitness running merchandise.

There will also be a generous selection of spot prizes awarded throughout the field of finishers at each race.
There are cash bonuses of £200 each for course and for series records, which currently stand at 29:32 for men and 32:57 for women.
Helensburgh will host the Scottish Athletics West District Championships as part of the race, and Dumbarton the Dunbartonshire AAA Championships.