Despite the heavy rain that had blighted the south coast all week, the sky cleared to a crisp azure blue as some 20000 runners lined up in their stay-warm bin bags outside the Pyramids centre in Southsea for the 30th Anniversary of the Great South Run.
Held in Southampton in its inaugural year, this IAAF Gold Standard event has become the biggest 10 mile race on the planet. Fast and pancake flat it’s a firm favourite amongst runners of all abilities. From the elites, to the speed snakes, to the charity fund raisers to the first race rookies, it is a joy to run.
Starting and finishing on Clarence Esplanade in Southsea, the 3 start pens started to fill as did the air with the scent of anticipation that big events like this generate. The mass warm up started and they were off with a legendary TV star from the 1990s.
“I managed to high five Mallet’s Mallet!” chirps Alison Butcher “I did have to jump to reach it though haha!”
The course takes the runners firstly along the seafront to Clarence Pier before turning inland slightly toward Gunwharf Quays. Into the historic dockyard they pass Nelson’s HMS Victory and Henry IIIV Mary Rose… Heroes to inspire every runners journey. From the dockyard the runners emerge and back their way out back into the city.
Winston Churchill Avenue saw them get getting into a rhythm and enjoying the crowds as this fantastically supported course. The locals really get behind this race, lining the streets in their thousands, handing out high fives and jelly babies, cheering and shouting encouragement to every runner that passes by.
Past the famous Queens Hotel and onward toward the common, where the runners get a glimpse of the front runners as they pass South Parade Pier in their last half mile of the race. However for the masses they have not long past the 10k marker.
Onward toward Eastney and the almost notorious atmosphere along Henderson Road with the residents standing in their gardens and music pumping giving the runners that last little boost before they make the turn at 8 miles and back onto the seafront.
It’s a long straight, seemingly endless battle to the finish, but at least they didn’t have the usual headwind to deal with today. Passing the Yomper Statue and then the pier as they finally enter the little zig zag in the road which signifies 400m to go.
Mustering all they had left after giving it their all, the roadrunners gave it one last push as they crossed the finishline.
Brilliant performances from each and every roadrunner and sprinkling of PBs as they ran their hearts out. A special mention to Steve Bennett for taking 4th place in his age category.
Simon Pilcher – 57.44 PB
Ross Wilkes – 1.02.37
Steve Rumsey – 1.04.35
Matt Fletcher – 1.06.28
Steve Apsey – 1.07.06
Steve Bennett – 1.10.58
Garry Sharp – 1.11.26
Guy Mattinson – 1.12.01 PB
Tim Keyte – 1.12.57 PB
Simon Paul – 1.13.36 PB
Charlotte Williams – 1.25.20
Alison Butcher – 1.31.45 PB
Carolyn Littleton – 1.32.05 PB
Bridget Keyte – 1.36.47 PB
Sarah Sharp – 1.36.48
Ian Williams- 1.37.08
Steve Hunt – 1.41.55
Gill Shaw – 1.55.20
Jo Randall – 1.55.21
Lyn Snow – 1.59.17
Beverly James – 2.01.30