Great South Run 2021: Thousands gather at Southsea Common for 5K, Junior, and Mini races

THE Great South Run is back after the Covid-19 cancelled last year event – and the sun was shining as hundreds of youngsters took part in the event’s 5K, Junior and Mini runs today.

By Richard Lemmer
Sunday, 17th October 2021, 12:27 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th October 2021, 1:03 pm
Big smiles as this young lad shows off his medal. Photo: Peter Langdown
Big smiles as this young lad shows off his medal. Photo: Peter Langdown

Southsea Common was busy with supporters and pint-sized runners dressed as bean-stalks, pirates, and other panto-themed personas as they prepared for the 2.5 kilometers Junior and 1.5k Mini races.

Dashing over the finish line to win the 5k race was Cameron Griffith, who completed the course in 14 minutes and 19 seconds – while the winner of the Mini race whizzed around in just five minutes and 37 seconds.

A short way behind and having a magical day was Jamie Goodwin, dressed as Harry Potter, who chased an Azkaban prison escapee – his exhausted father, Wayne – around the Mini course.

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Fancy dress was the order of the day for this family as they joined with the events on Saturday. Photo: David Tiller

Wayne said: ‘It’s been brilliant – the atmosphere has been great. It’s really refreshing after all the lockdowns.’

He added: ‘My dad got a diagnosis of dementia last year – it’s been really, really hard.

‘So we’re going to make a donation to UK Dementia.’

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One of the young competitors flexes before taking part in Saturday's Great South Run Junior and Mini events. Photo: Gary Tiller

The two days of races mark the return of a significant fundraising event for charities across the country and the city.

More than 75 children were running in today’s races to support the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association, with Fleur Bragaglia taking part with her five-year-old daughter Joy, to raise money for the charity that has supported Joy at St Alban’s Church of England Primary School.

The 38-year-old Havant resident said: ‘With the fundraising from Joy’s friends, that’s enough to pay for the support she will need over the next couple of years.

‘As a family, we don’t get any support outside of PDSA.

Superheroes Captain America and Spider-Man surround Cat Woman during the Great South Run 5k on Saturday, Photo: David Tiller

‘It makes a huge difference.’

Ken Ross, a trustee of the charity and husband of its founder Rachael Ross, said the races remain an important awareness raising event and a key part of the charity’s community.

He said: ‘The shout-outs we get from the PA’s have been absolutely brilliant. The Portsmouth Down Syndrome Assoication has been a huge part of this race for the last ten years.

A fan cheers on runners during the Great South Run 5km on Saturday. Photo: David Tiller

‘Fundraising is such an important part of what we do. We support over 100 schools – it costs a lot of money. So losing the opportunity to fundraise is pretty tricky.

‘Sometimes more importantly than that is raising awareness. It’s important that everyone gets to see all these guys with Down Syndrome and their families having a great time.’

Meanwhile other runners were taking part for the sheer joy the community event – much needed after the last 18 months, according to Christine Jolliffe, running with her daughters eight-year-old Jessica and six-year-old Katie – all dressed as Rubik’s Cubes.

Portsmouth resident Christine said: ‘We are dressed up just for the sake of it. Last time in 2019 we were dressed as HMS Victory and HMS Warrior.

‘It’s been a brilliant day. It’s been lovely seeing so many people after the last 18 months.’

It marks Jessica’s last year taking part in the Mini event, but she will be back for the Junior race – and the main event.

Girls set off on the junior run at the Great South Run on Saturday. Photo: Gary Tiller

She said: ‘I definitely want to do the Great South Run when I’m old enough.’

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Junior boys set off from the start line on Saturday. Photo: Gary Tiller.
Boys in the junior run cross the finishing line on Saturday. Photo: Gary Tiller.
A team of runners in the junior girls race cross the finishing line - dressed as ham and cheese and a sliced avocado. Photo: Gary Tiller
Celebrations at the start line of the junior run. Photo: Peter Langdown
It was all hugs for this duo as they relished in the chance to take on Saturday's junior race. Photo: Peter Langdown
Young fans enjoy cheering from the sidelines as racers complete their run. Photo: Peter Langdown
The winners of the junior boys' run celebrate their victory on Saturday. Photo: Peter Langdown
The winner of the girls' junior run crosses the finishing line. Photo: Peter Langdown
The junior boys pictured dashing from the starting line. Photo: Peter Langdown
A trio of junior boys celebrate winning in their respective category. Photo: Peter Langdown
This trio of pals celebrate together after completing the Great South Run Junior race on Saturday. Photo: Peter Langdown
Junior runner setting off from the starting blocks on Saturday. Photo: Peter Langdown
Thousands of people took part in this year's Great South Run action on Saturday. Photo: Peter Langdown
Winners of the 5km pictured at the finishing line. Photo: Peter Langdown