ORGANISERS of this year’s Bupa Great South Run hope Olympics fever will help attract a record number of participants.
Nova International has increased the number of places for the October event’s four races to 30,000 – up from 24,000 last year.
And it is confident that an interest in sport fuelled by the 2012 games will help fill all the places.
Communications director David Hart said: ‘People flock from all over the world to take part in the Great South Run, including world class athletes.
‘It’s famous for its atmosphere, its views, and the fact that it’s flat which makes it fast. All of these factors make it very appealing to runners.
‘And this year we have the added factor of the Olympics.
‘The Great South Run takes place just after the Olympics have finished and we expect that will attract more people.
‘It’s going to be a special year for us.’
More than 12,000 people have already signed up for the race, which sees crowds line the city’s streets to cheer runners on.
They include silver Olympic medallist Wendy Sly and Olympic hopeful Charlotte Purdue – who were both scheduled to officially launch the event today at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.
Race organiser Colin Goater, from Nova’s Portsmouth branch, said: ‘The Great South Run has grown tenfold since it started 23 years ago.
‘There were only about 2,000 people who did it in the first year, so to be expecting 30,000 this year is incredible.’
He added: ‘People enjoy being part of such a big event and having the chance to run alongside so many great athletes.
‘Even the spectators really get into it. It’s a great day out for everyone involved.’
The Bupa Great South Run, which takes place on October 27, is the only 10-mile race in the world to have been awarded Gold label status from the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The same weekend a three-mile race and a junior and mini race, for children from the age of three upwards, will also be held.
For more or to register see greatrun.org