GERARD Beauvoisin has never missed a Great South Run since it started in 1990 despite suffering with a tumour that ate away half his jaw. This year will be no different.
What started as a challenge to start running between Gerard and his brothers in 1987 quickly became a passion, but the North End dad hasn’t always had it easy, as he’s spent the last seven years undergoing over 10 operations after a tumour was noticed in his cheek.
Gerard said: ‘In 2011 I felt a strange feeling in my right cheek. I went to the hospital because I thought I’d had a stroke. Then in 2012 I saw my dentist, who sent me straight to the hospital where they found a benign tumour that had eaten away half my jaw. They called it ameloblastoma.
‘I was due to have the operation to remove it, but I postponed it due to it being too close to the Great South Run and my daughter’s graduation. In November, I finally had an operation where they removed the tumour and half my jaw and replaced it with part of my hip bone.’
Despite complications from the tumour, the runner hasn’t let it break his stride as he prepares for the 30th Great South Run.
He said: ‘Running 10 miles can be daunting, but the atmosphere is great. It gives you a boost as the crowd shout motivating sayings and give out high fives.
‘As a competitive runner, I started out to get under the hour, which I achieved and got close to a few times. As the years have gone on it’s been more about taking part, but I still try to get the fastest time I can.’
The Great South Run has seen up to 400,000 people cross the finish line since the event started 30 years ago, and has evolved into a packed weekend of sport, including a Great South 5k and the Junior and Mini Great South Run.
Gerard along with thousands of others will take in the sights of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Spinnaker Tower before crossing the finish line on the seafront on October 20.
To enter visit Greatrun.org/South