On October 20 Portsmouth will turn into a sea of runners as 20,000 people take to the streets for the 30th Simplyhealth Great South Run. As excitement builds, we bring you a round-up of the best of the weekend’s events and celebrations of the 30th staging.
The Simplyhealth Great South Run is known for the amazing support of local residents who fill the streets of Portsmouth and Southsea every year. Runners should be prepared to give umpteen high-fives and hear their name being called countless times! For more go to the Great South Run website.
The first Great South Run was in 1990. What were you doing in the ’90s? Being cool at your school disco, showing off your sweet moves in da club? Some of you might be a bit young to remember the glory days of Britpop and Beanie Babies but whether you were in your prime, past your prime or not even there, organisers are bringing you the best of the decade to enjoy on the day, with a ‘90s party on the start line.
Warm up for your run by dancing along to the ’90s classics chosen by followers of the Simplyhealth Great South Run Facebook page and look out for guest appearances from some recognisable faces from the ’90s.
Get ready to hit the nostalgia overload again with the ’90s No Limits Zone at the top of Avenue Du Caen. Live music will come from ’90s cover band Guilt Trippin’.
Don’t forget to smile for the camera against the ’90s-style photo backdrop in the event village, pick up a ‘90s accessory as a prop and look out for the (cardboard cutout) ’90s athletes to pose with you in your pics.
With more than 10 music and cheer points on the course, runners and spectators alike are sure to be entertained. Here are a few of them…
The Rose and Thistle Pipe and Drum band will keep runners marching on from the 1.5 mile point with their Highland Bagpipes and Scottish Drums
Batala Portsmouth are a returning favourite on the course and their Samba Reggae sound never fails to get people moving along with the beat. This year they will be at the top of Pier Road so runners will get two opportunities to hear them (at miles 1 and 5).
At 6.5 miles Cancer Research will be cheering runners on with the help of the Rock Choir.
Get ready for the Henderson Road welcome at 7.5 miles. Every year, Maggie Baker transforms her home on Henderson Road into a live boost zone! It is always a huge spectacle, with booming music, a viewing balcony and plenty of flags hanging across the street.
Wave 105 will be on the Esplanade Seafront with power songs at 8.5 miles to get those tired legs going for one last push. Grab some Jelly Babies from them for that all important sugar hit.
Run through history
The Simplyhealth Great South Run is the only opportunity you’ll get to run through an active naval base and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, taking you past Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory, so you can experience a piece of history while you run.
New for this year, in honour of 75 years since D Day and Portsmouth’s role in it, organisers have added a World War Two themed cheer point just before the 5-mile point (on Kings Terrace). Think swing music, lindy hop dances and VE Day celebrations.
Music is from The Belles, a three-piece vintage vocal group covering wartime Jazz and Swing. Our friends at Home Front History will be on hand to rally the troops, providing a vintage cheer squad with World War Two style.
Are you cheering on friends and families? Why not go to one of the entertainment zones or cheer points to soak up the atmosphere and help with the motivation?
Make a weekend of it
If you missed out on a place in the main event, or you don’t feel your legs are up to the 10-mile distance, you can still be part of the action. As well as the famous 10-mile run the weekend also includes the Simplyhealth Great South 5k, the Simplyhealth Canine Run and the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run, which still have places available.
If you are running in the 10-mile race, why not involve the whole family in one of the shorter runs? The Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run gives children of all abilities between the ages of 3-15 years the chance to join the excitement of this big weekend of sport on the south coast. The Junior and Mini events start and finish close to the Blue Reef Aquarium and feature a themed fancy dress with prizes on the finish line.
For those who like to run with their four-legged friend, the Simplyhealth Canine Run is for you. The 2.5k route starts and finishes on Clarence Esplanade and will take runners along the scenic Southsea seafront.
Furry runners will have their own bespoke area in the event village. And once they cross the finish line, dogs will be rewarded with a collar tag and a treat, while their owners will receive a Simplyhealth Canine Run t-shirt.
’90s themed fancy dress
The Simplyhealth Great South Run always delivers fun, bright and sometimes downright wacky fancy dress. This year organisers are asking runners to join them in remembering the early Great South Runs by dressing in a ‘90s theme. Will you go neon and scrunchies? Britpop? Or bring out the short shorts? Post your fancy dress photos on Instagram and tag @great_run.
For the kids, how about a favourite ’90s TV character, could you create your own little Rugrats character? Remember what the Saved By The Bell characters looked like? Or maybe classics like Power Rangers, Bananas in Pyjamas and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are more your style.
There will be on the day prizes for the best children’s '90s themed fancy dress including a family ticket to Paultons Park, tickets to Go Ape Southampton, gift vouchers and more. Prizes will be given on the finish line.
For more information and to enter, click here