Children show the way as Great South Run weekend gets off to a flyer

Hayley Newell with Min the dog and Cristian Lopez with Smudge the three legged Jack Russell.''Picture: Keith Woodland
Hayley Newell with Min the dog and Cristian Lopez with Smudge the three legged Jack Russell.''Picture: Keith Woodland
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SATURDAY’S Great South Run (GSR) saw children and runners of the four legged variety get the opportunity to take part in a celebration of the 30th year of the event.

More than 3,000 participants took part in three races whilst raising thousands of pounds for charity. 

Rachel Norris and Marley the border collie.''Picture: Keith Woodland (191019-258)

Rachel Norris and Marley the border collie.''Picture: Keith Woodland (191019-258)

The Canine Run saw 150 dogs of different shapes and sizes complete the 2.5 kilometre race.

Star of the show was 5 year old, three legged Jack Russell, Smudge. 

Owner, Christian Lopez, 45, said: ‘We got Smudge as a rescue dog and at that point he already only had three legs. This doesn’t hold him back, he often likes to chase squirrels and he really enjoyed today’s race.’

Border Collie, Marley, 13, was unable to run due to arthritis. However, owner, Hayley Newell, 37, was determined he wouldn’t “miss out on the fun”.

‘We din’t want Marley to feel left out and so we wheeled him round in his chariot,’ she said.

The afternoon saw around 2,000 children aged three to eight take part in the Mini Great South Run which was followed by the 2.5 kilometre junior event. Many families donned fancy dress including pirates and cardboard cut-outs of HMS Victory and Nelson

Star of the 5 kilometre race was Ben Brown, who at just 14 beat many adult runners to finish in sixth place. However the real winners of the weekend were the charities for whom more than £3 million was raised.

Lindsay Catlin, 35, was running for the National Autistic Society. The Redwood Park Academy teacher said: ‘As well as raising money it’s important to raise awareness of challenges faced by people living on the autistic spectrum.’

NHS Portsmouth Hospital Trust were well represented in all the races with one of the teams taking part raising money for blood cancer charities, Harvey’s Gang and SERV Wessex Blood Bikes.

Clinical scientist, Alison Dela Pena, 45, said: ‘We have raised over £600. Working in pathology I see first-hand the need for the work these charities carry out.’

GSR partnership director, David Hart, was delighted the event was returning to the city.

David said: ‘We always get fantastic support here in Portsmouth and the event really benefits the local economy.’

Lord Mayor, David Fuller, added: ‘This is a phenomenal event which really promotes our city.’