COMMENT: What makes event special is focus on inclusivity

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Each year thousands of people head to Portsmouth to take on the challenge of the SimplyHealth Great South Run.

For the elite runners at the front, all that matters is their time and their finishing position.

But in this race within a race, the vast majority are not athletes.

There are many different reasons why they spend months out in all weathers, pounding the pavements so they will be ready for the big day.

Perhaps they are running to remember a loved one, to raise money for a charity close to their heart or to prove something to themselves.

For some, running those 10 miles is a huge challenge. But, like so many who have gone before them, they want to get out of their comfort zone and experience the enormous satisfaction of taking on the course and making it to the finish line.

People like those who will be taking part in this year’s event on October 21 thanks to £2,000 funding from the Portsmouth Lottery.

It’s fantastic to see that the charity Pompey in the Community is enabling around 40 runners to experience the GSR.

From amputees to powerchair footballers and special needs adults who will run with carers, their participation underlines that this is truly an event for all the people.

It’s this ethos of inclusivity that makes it so fantastic.

As Pompey defender and PitC ambassador Christian Burgess said at yesterday’s GSR launch at Fratton Park: ‘It is an amazing event for people from all walks of life. It’s very inspiring to see so many people taking part for charities, good causes and to keep fit.’

We’ll leave the last word to Dot Hardie, whose son Russell Hardie has learning difficulties and will be running.

She said: ‘I think this will be a challenge for him and all the others, but it is good for them to have a goal to work to and get fitter at the same time.’

Well said. We wish him and all PitC runners well and look forward to following their progress.