actiom from Great South Run

Great South Run 30 not out

Every year runners mark off the October date for the Simplyhealth Great South Run. It's one of the UK's top events – the 10 mile race that's not to be missed.

And this year runners have extra motivation to be on that clamorous start line on Sunday 20 October. It's Great South Run No.30 and organisers are promising a very special renewal of the event that has, over three decades, become a classic South Coast sporting event.

The Great South Run started modestly in 1990 with just 2,000 runners. Since then around 400,000 have enjoyed the unique experience of an iconic route that winds through Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard past landmarks such as HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose Museum.

Stunning sea views will distract you as you progress along the final miles on Eastney and Clarence Esplanade and past Southsea Model Village, Southsea Pier and the Rock Gardens – all popular vantage points where runners can be supported twice en route.

The Simplyhealth Great South Run is a special occasion with its exuberant field, many in fancy dress or bright charity vests, huge support along all sections of the route and a big national TV audience. There are always big names chasing the prizes at the head of affairs. Mo Farah was the winner in 2009 and the evergreen Chris Thompson has been first home in each of the last three races.

However it's the women's race that sees a dramatic roll of honour - Sonia O'Sullivan, Paula Radcliffe, Vivian Cheruiyot, Jo Pavey and Tirunesh Dibaba are all previous winners. While last year Eilish McColgan added her name to the list that included mum Liz (1995 & 1997).

Whether you run round in 46 minutes, like Mo Farah, or in 2 hours, like many runners, you're still part of the same experience, the same 30-year heritage. Among the 2018 finishers was Andy Davidson who said: "A brilliant event once again, loved it! If you’ve never run it but are tempted, just go and sign up you’ll not regret it. Crowds, route and support that’s second to none! Ruth Goddard was more succinct: "Wooohooo! Fab day out!"

Andy and Ruth were among 20,000 competitors last year who relished the 10 mile distance, a perfect test for those who wish to progress from 10K to half marathon, and further. Like all Great South runners they would have enjoyed perfect conditions through peak training time in September and into October.

You don't have to be 10 mller though to be part of the Simplyhealth Great South Run. Over 30 years the event has grown into a packed weekend of sport and fun and now includes the Simplyhealth Great South 5K and the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run.

These runs all take place on the Saturday (19 October) as does the Simplyhealth Canine Run where organisers are aiming for 200 well-behaved dogs (and well-behaved owners) to take up the challenge this time.


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