COME rain or shine, there will always be people running along the esplanade in Southsea and Eastney, from the pre-dawn hours right up until after dark.
Now the esplanade is to become a recognised raceway, as the Parkrun organisation is launching a Portsmouth leg.
Each Saturday morning, at 9am, runners up and down the country meet to run a 5km (3.1 miles) race.
It is free to enter, and anyone from a beginner jogger to Mo Farah can take part.
The races usually take place in a public park, hence the name, and up until now the nearest run has taken place in Staunton Country Park, Havant, and regularly attracts 200 runners or more.
The first Parkrun in Southsea will be held on Saturday, October 5, and will set off from Speaker’s Corner, near Rocksbys restaurant, as close to 9am as possible.
It will be marshalled by volunteers, and has been given permission by Portsmouth City Council to take place following a trial run event held in April this year.
Upfront costs are being met by the University of Portsmouth’s sport department.
Keen runner and joint organiser, Peter Hooley, said: ‘Parkrun Southsea is about community running. There are plenty of events where you can compete as a runner, but not many where you and your community can get together every week and take part, get fit and make new friends.
‘That is what Parkrun is about and it’s a privilege to work with the university and local runners to get one started in my home of Southsea.’
The route for Southsea is a simple one. The runners will head east, past the Royal Marines Museum and the Yomper statue, turning around at a cone marking the halfway point.
The race is then on to get back to Speaker’s Corner in the fastest time. All the results are logged with the Parkrun organisation centrally, and everyone’s finishing times and positions are then released later in the day.
To help volunteer, either as a photographer, pace-setter, marshall or to help at the finish line, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about the event, see parkrun.org.uk/southsea/