Great South Run sees people run their hearts out at 30th anniversary

More than 20,000 people ran their hearts out for good causes at the 30th Simplyhealth Great South Run – with more than £3.5m expected to be raised.

By Steve Deeks
Monday, 21st October 2019, 8:32 am
Emma Milne and Lisa Gumbrill
Emma Milne and Lisa Gumbrill

The run, part of the England athletics 10-mile road-race championships, saw international athletes do battle at the world’s leading 10-mile run alongside normal people with extraordinary stories. 

The city was transformed into a sea of colour as people made off from Clarence Esplanade – 30 years on from when The Great South Run first came to Portsmouth in 1990.

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In keeping with the nineties theme, legendary children's television presenter, Timmy Mallet, and Diane Youdale, better known as Jet from Gladiators, were there to start the race as classic tunes from the era pumped out.

Timmy said: 'It's always a pleasure to come to Portsmouth. Today is not just about raising money but also about people setting themselves a target and being able to achieve it.'

The day was a fun-filled yet poignant one for many taking part, as they raced for good causes. Paul Smith, 36, of Eastney, raised £1,000 with a group of friends for charity Football for Cancer after losing pal Sam Robson to bowel cancer when he was just 25 years old.

He said: ‘Sam was not the sort of person you would expect to get bowel cancer as he was so young and fit.

He was misdiagnosed after they thought he had irritable bowel syndrome at first so it was such a shock to lose him.’

Dressed as Bananas in Pyjamas, sisters Emma Milne, 35, and Lisa Gumbrill, 37, from Havant and Southsea respectively, were running for charity Lymphoma Action after losing their mum Sue Gumbrill to the form of cancer in 2006, aged 56. 

‘They didn’t catch the illness for a year before she went downhill,’ they said.

‘We do lots for charity and have done the race many times but never dressed as bananas but as our mum was bananas it made sense.

‘Apart from the heat in the costume it was easier this year with everyone cheering us on and joking with us.’

The elite race saw Marc Scott run out as winner of the men’s event while Eilish McColgan successfully defended her title.