THOUSANDS of fleet-footed runners are crossing the finish line of the Great South Run.
The 10-mile event returned to Southsea this morning, where as many as 20,000 people geared up to earn a personal best and raise cash for good causes.
After the Saturday events for the fixture were cancelled following a spate of adverse weather from Storm Brian, runners were all smiles as they set off under the cool autumn sunshine along Clarence Esplanade – before crossing the finish line in the same road.
Andrew Thorne, 34, completed the race in aid of the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association – raising more than £100.
He said: ‘Some friends of ours who my children go swimming with have Down’s Syndrome.
‘The association is fantastic for those who perhaps don’t get the best start in life and that’s why I chose to raise for them. This was my first Great South Run and I’ll definitely be doing it again.’
Among those taking part were 13 officers from Hampshire Constabulary – 10 dressed in riot gear, weighing 20kg – alongside three others donning convict garb.
The team ran in aid of the Gurney Fund, a charity dedicated to supporting orphans of police families.
Cheering them on from the sideline was John Apter. chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation and a trustee for the Gurney Fund.
He said: ‘The team did this in their own time, it’s been so humbling to see. The Gurney Trust looks after hundreds of families across 22 forces.
‘For children left behind after a police officer dies, we offer them support right from the point of birth until university.’
Donning full riot gear, public order sergeant Spencer Wragg, said: ‘We’ve trained for this for a while now, running maybe 70-80 miles as practice.
‘It’s great to finally get on the course and raise cash for such a worthy cause.’
Scores of runners from the fixture’s four waves will pour along the home straight over the next few hours.