Thousands flock to Portsmouth for Great South Run

Sharon and Paul Spindley

Sharon and Paul Spindley

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THOUSANDS of people flocked to Portsmouth to tackle this year’s Great South Run.

Up to 25,000 runners are expected to race the 10-mile course that winds through the city.

And some of the world’s most elite athletes will also be hitting the street, hoping to clinch a record-beating time.

Triple Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba is among the elite runners taking part in the race.

This is the 31-year-old long-distance pro’s debut 10-mile race and she aims to impress.

But the Ethiopian will be against stiff opposition with some world-class runners from the UK chasing after her.

Among those include the Isle of Wight’s Olympic hero, Jess Andrews, Olympic marathon ace Aly Dixon and European half marathon silver medalist Veronica Inglese.

But the race is not just about the elite athletes.

There are thousands of amateur runners taking part in this year’s Great South Run.

Among them are husband and wife duo Sharon and Paul Spindler.

They are taking on the 10-mile course in memory of their son Benjamin, who died from cancer 25 years ago, aged three.

The pair, of Farnborough have already raised hundreds of pounds for Cancer Research UK.

Paul said: ‘I have lost a number of family members to cancer.

‘Losing my son was just absolutely devastating, it’s hard to describe.

‘With Cancer Research, and all the other caner charities around, the treatment is getting better and is more widely available.

‘So every penny is desperately needed.’

Families are lining the start line in Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, while runners are busy readying themselves inside the Pyramids for today’s race.

The action is set to begin at 10.15am with the elite women’s race.

The men’s elite race and the orange wave of runners will be launching 20 minutes later, at 10.35am, followed by the white wave and green wave at 10.48am and 11.05am.

The event is broadcast live on Channel 5 from 10am.

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