Olympic sailing heroes to kickstart this year’s Great South Run

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark with their gold medals in Rio
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark with their gold medals in Rio
Eastney Beach and Southsea esplanade

Pair of Portsmouth beaches hailed ‘excellent’ by inspectors

  • Sailing gold medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark to kickstart Great South Run
  • Mills is also set to join the thousands to run the race herself
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OLYMPIC gold medallist sailors will set off more than 20,000 runners at this year’s Great South Run.

Rio 2016 heroes Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, who sailed to Olympic gold in the women’s 470 class in Rio this summer will be honorary starters at the 10-mile running event this month.

Following on from the amazing events this summer, it is great see events like this which really engage and motivate thousands of people to get out and get active

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark

Once the gun has fired, Hannah will then join the thousands and take on the event in aid of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

The duo, who have been nominated for the 2016 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award, said: ‘It is wonderful to be asked to be honorary starters at the Great South Run.

‘Following on from the amazing events this summer, it is great see events like this which engage and motivate thousands of people to get out and get active.

‘Hannah is going to go and run it as well so if anyone fancies getting involved, there is still time.’

The foundation was set up by Olympic sailing champion Iain Percy, Sir Ben Ainslie and Leah Simpson after her husband Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson lost his life in an America’s Cup accident.

The charity is aiming to inspire the next generation of sailors.

Saskia has been working at the foundation ever since the games finished in August.

The run, which starts and finishes in Southsea, will see runners pass through landmarks throughout the city such as HMS Victory.

The flat and fast course has previously been run by celebrated long-distance runners such as marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliffe and Britain’s most successful track athlete Mo Farah.

Ms Clark added: ‘Getting girls involved in sport has always been important to us and it’s something I’m going to be focused on whilst working for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, which uses sailing to engage young people and offer them fantastic opportunities moving forwards.’

Entries are still open for the hotly-anticipated event with the Junior and Mini Great South Run and Great South Run 5k getting the action under way on October 22 before the 10k race the next day.

To enter any of the races head to greatrun.org/south to take part.