We’re proud Portsmouth hosts such a special event

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COMMENT: A business community that is simply the best

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The Great South Run really is an amazing event that just gets bigger and better – and we’re so proud to have it here in Portsmouth every year.

What began as a local road race is now considered a world-class 10-miler and attracts top athletes who love the fast, flat and scenic course.

Those who lined the route yesterday to show their support couldn’t help but admire the athleticism of men’s winner Leonard Kumon from Kenya and women’s champion Asselfech Mergia from Ethiopia.

But of course the Great South Run is always about so much more than the elite runners. While they race against the clock and each other, many thousands of others in the huge field are involved in their own personal challenges, often raising huge sums for charity in the process.

People like double amputee Charlotte Hughes, pushed in her wheelchair by a team of friends and relatives but determined to walk the final 1,000ft. Truly inspirational.

For her and others, just getting to the finish line was an achievement.

Some thought they’d make the race harder by wearing a variety of costumes, from Peppa Pig to Mickey and Minnie Mouse, from Batman and Robin to Scooby Doo and a zebra. A team of firefighters from Southsea even ran the whole way in full work gear.

This year it wasn’t all about the big race. On Saturday there was also the first 5km version of the GSR, designed as a taster of the main event for beginners keen to sample what it’s all about. Plus it was great to see so many youngsters taking part in the popular Mini and Junior races.

Everybody on both days got roared on by friends and family and by people they had never met. As all those who took part swop stories and nurse aches and pains, they can reflect on a fantastic weekend.

But none of it would have been possible without the efforts of the organisers and the city council. Like the runners, they deserve our congratulations for an event that showcases all that is good about our go-ahead city.