Sprinting success as Portsmouth youngsters kick off Great South Run weekend

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The Great School Sprint has become an annual event.

24/10/14   ''The 'Great School Sprint' held at the Portsmouth Mountbatten Tennis Centre''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143049-9) PPP-141024-153937001

24/10/14 ''The 'Great School Sprint' held at the Portsmouth Mountbatten Tennis Centre''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143049-9) PPP-141024-153937001

More than 100 Year 7 children from secondary schools in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Horndean competed on a pop-up athletics track at the Portsmouth Tennis Centre in Stamshaw.

Each child ran 60 metres to find the fastest boy and girl to represent the south at the Great School Sprint National Final in Manchester in May.

Great School Sprint project manager Tom Lavender said: ‘The idea behind it is to take athletics away from the track and offer the children something unique, particularly for those children who might not have taken part in athletics before who pick up the sport and enjoy it.’

Grace Gordon, 11, from Cams Hill School in Fareham, took part. She said: ‘It’s useful for younger people to express what they like doing and show off their talents if they aren’t academic.

‘I like doing stuff like this.

‘I’d rather be doing this than school stuff.’

Omar Jarju, 11, from Brune Park Community School in Gosport, also competed.

He said: ‘I’m happy because I didn’t have to go to school.

‘I like running better than doing school stuff.’

The event is supported by Portsmouth City Council, the University of Portsmouth and the Portsmouth School Sports Partnership.

Jodie Williams is a 200m European silver medallist, and was there to inspire youngsters.

She said: ‘It’s so good to try and get kids into these kind of things. It’s a fun event but there’s a competitive edge to it and it gets kids into athletics. It encourages them to get into it and see what it can be like.’

The final is part of the Great Manchester Run weekend, and features winners from the north, Birmingham, the south and Manchester.

In the boys’ races the quickest three were Jacob Nelson (Brune Park), Franze Guzman (Portchester) and Harry Shaw (Bay House). In the girls’ races the top three were Amelia Spry (Horndean), Scarlett Thomas (Priory) and Hannah Clark (Bay House).

Extra buses laid on

Portsmouth’s park and ride will have extra buses operating on Sunday to cater for the increased number of visitors to the city.

Buses from the transport hub, off the M275, will run to The Hard Interchange as normal until 9.15am when road closures come in to place.

After this it will go as far as the city centre, using Stand G at Commercial Road South bus stops.

As roads reopen it will resume its usual full route.

This is expected to be from 1pm.

Bus services will also be affected over the weekend so check with individual operators for revised timetables.

Clarence Esplanade between South Parade and Avenue de Caen, Victoria Avenue Spur and Jack Cockerill Way will be closed from 6am tomorrow until 4pm on Sunday.

Clarence Esplanade between Avenue de Caen and Clarence Pier and The Dell will be shut from 5.30am on Saturday until 4pm on Sunday.

Long Curtain Road and the bus turning point on Clarence Esplanade will be closed from 10.20am until 11am on Saturday.

For a full list of road closures, visit: portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/documents-external/tro-57-great-south-run-2014-pn.pdf