Great South Run weekend under way

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THOUSANDS of people started off the 25th anniversary of the Great South Run by taking part in races today.

Keen runners were joined by families and people in costumes to complete the 5km Race and the Mini Race, kicking off the weekend.

Runners prepare on the start line of the Great South Run 5k event

Runners prepare on the start line of the Great South Run 5k event

This morning, around 3,000 people ran along the seafront in the 5km race with competitors ranging from professional runners to those raising money for charity.

David and Sarah Kinsella were joined by their son Michael and fellow runner Michelle Green in raising money for the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association.

Michelle, from Portsmouth, said: ‘I have been holding a lot of fundraisers for the charity this year and this is one of them.

‘It was great doing it.’

Families lined up next to run the Mini Race. Hundreds of children took part with their parents and friends.

Brothers Harry and Stanley Head, aged eight and five, were happy when they finished.

The pair, from Stubbington, ran with their dad Paul who also took part in the 5km.

Harry said: ‘We didn’t stop running the whole way. But it was really fun.’

The Junior Race also took place today, and more experienced runners take up the 10-mile challenge tomorrow.

The 10-mile run will start in Southsea, on Clarence Esplanade with elite races starting from 10.15am and the main race starting from 10.48am.

Many of those taking part are raising thousands of pounds for worthy causes.

There will be live music over the course to keep runners motivated and visitors can join in by cheering and encouraging runners around the route.

But for those who would like to stay at home and avoid the crowds, the race will be broadcast live on Channel 5.

For a full list of road closures, visit; portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/documents-external/tro-57-great-south-run-2014-pn.pdf

More Great South Run coverage

Video: Great South Run Mini Race

Great South Run 5km and Mini Race in pictures

Great South Run Mini Races in pictures