First Great South Run 5k is ready to roll

Preparation are under way for the Great South Runs on Saturday and Sunday

Preparation are under way for the Great South Runs on Saturday and Sunday

Hoad's Hill. Picture: Google

White van man punches several cyclists on countryside road near Wickham

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EXCITEMENT is building as the first Great South Run 5k prepares to get under way.

When they leave the seafront starting line at 10am today almost 1,000 runners of all ages and abilities will kick off a weekend of athletic fun and fundraising.

A welcome sight for runners

A welcome sight for runners

Organisers said they introduced the event to give young or inexperienced runners a taste of the atmosphere and adrenaline that have made Sunday’s Great South Run the world’s premier 10-mile road race.

David Hart, communications director of Nova, said: ‘Having reached capacity for the Bupa Great South Run five months ahead of the event, we want to offer the opportunity for more people to get involved in what is a fantastic weekend of running.

‘The 5k distance, on a very flat course around Southsea, will be a perfect first step for runners, who will hopefully use it to progress to the 10-mile distance in the future.’

But before tomorrow’s main event there will also be a chance for younger runners to take part in the 1.5k Mini Run for three to eight-year-olds, which starts at midday, or the 2.5k Junior Run for nine to 15-year-olds, which begins at 1pm.

A total of 3,000 people will take part in today’s events, including former world champion distance runner Sonia O’Sullivan who is entering the 5k run.

Then tomorrow a further 24,000 runners from all over the world will help to make the 22nd Bupa Great South Run the biggest in history and raise millions of pounds for charity.

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