The eyes of the world were fixed firmly on Portsmouth yesterday as tens of thousands of people flocked to the city for the Great South Run.
Southsea’s seafront was a sea of colour as some 25,000 runners – some in fancy dress – lined up along Clarence Esplanade to take on the iconic 10-mile route.
Crowds erupted with applause as the surge of joggers swept past Portsmouth Naval Memorial and into the heart of the city.
The race was full of emotion for some as they gave everything they could to complete the course in memory of a loved one.
Steve Grahame, 57, of Havant, was doing the run in memory of his mum, two best friends and brother-in-law – who all died of cancer.
He said: ‘It’s been a devastating year for me. Two of my friends died this year and my brother-in-law died in November.
‘I just wanted to kick 2016 through the window and run as hard as I could.’
Jacky Newcombe was running in memory of her late husband Michael, who died of a heart attack in 2014.
The 47-year-old, of Poole, said: ‘I was in tears at one point. It was overwhelming.’
For Rob Dunne, of Chichester it was his third time racing the Great South Run.
The 29-year-old was joined by younger brother Anthony, 27, of Gunwharf Quays.
Rob said: ‘The atmosphere here is always incredible.’
Anthony said it was great racing with his brother, adding: ‘It was tough. I was exhausted by mile seven. But the crowds were great in encouraging us.’
There were tears at the finish line as runners were reunited with their family.
Mike Brading, 31, was inspired to take on his race by his son, Charlie, two, who has spina bifida.
The brave youngster struggles to walk but managed to complete the final few metres of the course with his dad.
Mike, of Southampton, said: ‘It was incredible to be there – I can’t put it into words how proud I am. Charlie’s proved everybody wrong. He is truly one-in-a-million.’
Wheelchair-bound Sanda Petakovic, 37, of Peterfield, was pulled around the course by fiancé James Peake, 35.
She said: ‘James is my hero. He was amazing.’
James added: ‘It was really hard work especially by mile eight. But it was great fun.’