Simplyhealth Great South Run is gathering pace with two months to go to the big race. The world's leading 10-mile event returns to Portsmouth on the weekend of 21-22 October, with up to 25,000 people of all ages and abilities taking part in four running events.
Runners and charity fundraisers gathered at Southsea Castle recently to share stories about their reasons for running ahead of their 10-mile challenge. The fast and flat course starts near Southsea Castle on Clarence Esplanade, before taking in all the iconic landmarks around the city, including Spinnaker Tower and Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, home to HMS Victory.
Among the runners were William Martin from Portsmouth. William decided to take on the Simplyhealth Great South Run to raise awareness about ME in support of his friend Ali Head who has suffered with the condition for 20 years. He aims to get 100 runners signed up to TEAM100, who are supporting Invest in ME Research and will commit to raising £100 each for the charity.
Ian Carley and Cyra Parkes of the wonderfully named Sergeant Stepper's Homeless Hearts Club from Surrey are among a group of runners who will be busking their way around the Simplyhealth Great South Run dressed as Sergeant Pepper. This is to raise money for Crisis and Step by Step charities to mark Ian's 50th birthday and the 50th anniversary of Sergeant Pepper's Homeless Hearts Club.
Rebecca Norum from Portsmouth was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, 12 weeks after her baby boy was born. She has dedicated her time to raising awareness about cancer and is running the 10-mile event to raise funds for her chosen cancer charity. This will be her longest ever run.
The weekend has become a festival of sport, with the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run and the Simplyhealth Great South 5K taking place the day before. England Athletics has announced that the England 10 Mile Road Championships will be held in partnership with the Great South Run event, with Championship medals to the top three eligible individuals. In addition, the top English athletes will be offered the opportunity to compete for England in a road international, subject to meeting England qualifying standards.
Race and entry details can be found through runABC South race listings