A PORTSMOUTH charity is targeting its best-ever fundraising effort at the Bupa Great South Run thanks to ‘amazing support’ from the local community.
More than 120 people will be running to raise money for the Portsmouth Down’s Syndrome Association in the world’s leading 10-mile running event on Sunday, October 26, with another 25 youngsters taking part in the junior race.
It is hoped their efforts will help bring in more than £35,000 for the charity, also known as Footprints, which provides specialist services to children with Down’s Syndrome and their families across south Hampshire.
Support for the cause has grown in recent years but Ken Ross, who runs the charity with his wife Rachael, says he has been astounded at how the community has got behind them this time around.
‘There’s been a huge amount of backing for us – it’s been amazing,’ said the 43-year-old, who lives in Hinton Daubney, near Hambledon and will be taking part in his second Great South Run.
‘My wife set up the charity five years ago as our son Max has Down Syndrome. In 2011, we thought we’d really give the fundraising a good go but I never would have thought so many people would be willing to help.
‘I’m a member of Portsmouth Rugby Club and we’ve got at least 20 people from there who will be running with us. This is a team effort that has a real community feel to it and we’re immensely grateful to all the supporters we have.
‘We have 126 people down for the Great South Run, and 25 for the juniors, including my sons Max and Tom, while their older brother Jack will be cheering them on.
‘We raised £30,000 last year and would love to get above £35,000 this time.’
Ken is no stranger to long-distance running, having completed a London Marathon. But he says there is something special about the Great South Run.
‘It’s a brilliant day out,’ he said. ‘It’s almost like a jamboree, with huge numbers taking part and people lining the streets to support you. You get amazing access to the dockyard and see some pretty special sights.’