20,000 runners descended on Portsmouth for the Simplyhealth Great South Run at the weekend.
Now in its 29th year, the world’s leading 10 mile running event featured a strong British elite field with Chris Thompson and Eilish McColgan taking the 2018 titles. For Chris Thompson, who took the win in 46.56, it was three wins in a row! Eilish McColgan’s win in 54.43 was made even more impressive by the fact that it was her debut at the 10 mile distance.
Steph Twell followed finished second in a time of 55:16 and Gemma Steel was third in a time of 56:56. In the men’s race Andy Vernon came second in a time of 47:29 and Petros Surafel came third in 48:05.
The event, staged in the city since 1991, offers a unique opportunity to run through Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, passing iconic landmarks such as HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose Museum. The 20,000 runners who took part included club runners, charity fundraisers and those taking part for a personal challenge.
Among them was the 17-year-old sister of murdered soldier Lee Rigby. Courtney took part in the event with a team of supporters to raise money for the Lee Rigby Foundation, which has been set up by her family to support victims of British terror attacks.
Boxer Kate Farley also walked the final mile of the event on the seafront with the help of a walking frame, despite suffering from cerebral palsy. Kate completed the event to support the Superpeople charity she co-founded to show how disabled and non-disabled people can work together to create social change.
New for this year was the Simplyhealth Canine Run on the Saturday. In a first for the Simplyhealth Great Run Series, 100 dogs took part in a 2.5k run with their humans, starting and finishing on Clarence Esplanade. This was followed by the Simplyhealth Great South 5k where the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lee Mason, joined up to 1,000 runners to take on the shorter running route as part of his new Small Changes, Big Difference Campaign. He then set the 20,000 runners on their way as the event’s honorary starter the next day.
The 5k was followed by the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run, with thousands of young runners filling the Southsea sea front with a seaside-themed fancy dress competition.
Jayne Fearn, Simplyhealth spokesperson, said:
“The glorious sunshine made for great conditions for a fantastic weekend of events in Portsmouth, from the first ever Simplyhealth Canine Run to the Simplyhealth Great South Run on Sunday. Supporting runners every step of the way, thousands enjoyed our post-run stretch zone and free massage. We’re already looking forward to next year.”
Entries are open for the 2019 Simplyhealth Great South Run, which will take place on Sunday 20 October.
The first 1,000 runners who sign up for next year’s 10 mile event can take advantage of 25% off their entry fee. Enter at: Greatrun.org/South