It began as a local race which attracted just a small number of runners.
Now in its 23rd year, the Bupa Great South Run attracts tens of thousands of people from all over the world – and this weekend’s 23rd annual event is set to be the biggest yet.
Organisers say 25,000 runners have signed up for the 10-mile challenge on Sunday – the biggest number in the race’s history.
And an extra 4,000 participants made up of families and less experienced runners will take their place on the start line in Southsea tomorrow for the junior, mini and 5k events, which also sets a new all-time record.
It is estimated that £3m will be raised for more than 100 different charities, smashing last year’s £2.5m total.
The event makes for a stunning occasion with everyone being treated to music from live bands as well as there being a funfair and food stalls.
People should also keep an eye out for the famous faces that take part.
David Hart, communications manager for event organiser Nova, said: ‘There are 25,000 people taking part in the senior race this year, which is a record number. That figure further establishes this as the world’s leading 10 mile running event. All the other races have broke records too.
‘The Bupa Great South run attracts people from all walks of life because there is so much history behind it now.
‘This is the 23rd one and it just keeps getting better and better.
‘Every year you get people coming to raise money for charity, wanting to beat their previous time and others starting out for the first time. It’s become a big event in its own right.
‘The fact that world class runners take part helps to keep raising the profile of the event.
‘People come from countries including Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Sweden and Singapore.
‘It’s broadcasted live on television and highlights of the races are streamed in nearly 100 countries around the world.’
PARKING AND ROAD CLOSURES
SOME road closures will take place from early tomorrow for the Mini, Junior and 5k races.
Sunday will see more streets in the south of the city closed as the 10-mile event takes place.
Portsmouth City Council assures residents that roads will re open as quickly as possible. Queen Street and access to The Hard should be opened by 1.30pm on Sunday.
Other roads en route will be opened as soon as they are clear of runners and water stations.
All city centre car parks will be open, and it’s recommended that visitors, shoppers and spectators use them as they are not on the route and will mean a quicker exit from the city.
Car parking will be available on Southsea Common for competitors, officials, and spectators during Saturday and Sunday, but a charge of £3 a car will apply.
Parking on the common will be free for residents with a valid residents’ parking permit.
The following road closures will take place over the weekend (which doesn’t apply to authorised Great South Run vehicles): Closed from 6am today until Sunday afternoon: Clarence Esplanade between South Parade and Jack Cockerill Way and Victoria Spur.
· From 5.30am tomorrow until Sunday afternoon: The Dell and Jack Cockerill Way.
· From 10.20am until 11am tomorrow: Long Curtain Road and the bus turning point at Clarence Esplanade.
· From 10.45am until 1pm tomorrow: Western Parade between Clarence Parade and Southsea Terrace.
· From 6am until 2pm tomorrow: Clarence Esplanade between Jack Cockerill Way and Pier Road and Avenue de Caen.
· From 5.30am Sunday until the afternoon: Clarence Esplanade between Jack Cockerill Way and Pier Road, Avenue de Caen, Victoria Avenue and Victoria Spur.
On Sunday, closures on each of the sections of the rest of the race route on the following roads will be brought into operation by the council at the start of the race and will be removed when it is safe to do so after the sweep vehicle has passed: Clarence Pier Road, Pier Road, Gordon Road, Pembroke Road, High Street – Old Portsmouth between Pembroke Road an St George’s Road, Museum Road, Cambridge Road, Burnaby Road between Cambridge Road and Park Road, Park Road, St George’s Road, The Hard, Bonfire Corner, Cross Street, Queen Street, Alfred Road.
THE race starts on Southsea seafront outside the D-Day museum and goes to Old Portsmouth, through Portsmouth Historic Dockyard towards the city centre, along Winston Churchill Avenue and down towards the seafront again before a final turn from the Eastney end of the seafront toward the D-Day Museum.
Local bands will be playing along the route to encourage the runners.