let’s make the 25th Great South Run in Portsmouth the biggest and best yet.
That’s the rallying call as the city gears up to host its anniversary event later this year, having raised an estimated £25m since its launch in 1991.
Taking part in every one of those Great South Runs has been Jane Evans.
The 65-year-old will compete in the world’s leading 10-mile running event for the final time on Sunday, October 25, having raised thousands for charity along the way.
And now more runners are being called on to follow Jane’s lead by getting involved.
David Hart, communications director at Great Run Company, said: ‘The Morrisons Great South Run has been a permanent fixture in the running calendar since 1990, moving from Southampton to Portsmouth in 1991, and it’s great to see participants like Jane come back year after year to experience it.
‘This year we’re celebrating 25 years of the event being staged in Portsmouth and we’re looking forward to seeing even more runners of all abilities take on 10 miles – whether they’re an elite athlete or the last person over the finish line.
‘The run has grown from 2,000 to 25,000 participants over the last quarter century, and those runners, walkers and joggers have helped to raise an estimated £25m for charities in the UK and worldwide.
‘Now we want even more runners to keep up this success in what is a special year for the event.’
Jane will be among thousands of runners in this landmark year to take on the course, which takes in Portsmouth landmarks including HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, and ends with a final two miles along Southsea seafront.
Her final run in the event will be the end of an emotional journey for Jane, who like many others started running to support good causes.
‘I didn’t start running until later in life,’ said Jane, of Upper Old Street, Stubbington.
‘My mum and dad both died in their early 60s and that made me think that I wanted to stay as fit and healthy as I could.’
Over the years, Jane has raised an estimated £3,000 for charities including the British Heart Foundation, Macmillan and the 2nd Stubbington Rainbows, through sponsorship from family and friends.
This year she is running for the cause that’s closest to her heart – the charity which supported her niece when she was struck down by meningitis at the age of 18.
Mechelle Lake was working away from home for the first time when she contracted the disease, leading to a lengthy spell in hospital as doctors battled to save her life.
Now 37, Mechelle is fit and well but her family has remains grateful for the support they received from the Meningitis Trust, known today as Meningitis Now.
Jane said: ‘We’ll never forget the help that the meningitis charity gave them.
‘They were assigned somebody from the charity and they were brilliant, helping the whole family through it.
‘We’re very grateful and I can’t think of a more deserving cause to support in my final year.’
Jane has fond memories of her experiences of running in Portsmouth in previous years – particularly the support from the crowd.
Her husband Dave, to whom she’s been married for 46 years, will be at the finishing line to cheer her on along with her sons Kyle and Keith and daughters Katie-Jane and Klaire.
‘Taking part is an amazing experience, especially now that they put your name on top of your number so people can shout it out as you go round,’ said Jane.
‘If you look like you’re flagging it gives you real encouragement to hear the support.
‘I’ve taken part in other races over the years but the Great South Run is the only one I’ve done every single year because it’s such a good one to do.
‘It’s given me something to aim for each year – so there’s been no excuse for being lazy!’
Enter at greatrun.org/south
How to get involved
Thousands of runners will be cheered on as they take part in the Morrisons Great South Run on Sunday, October 25 – and you could be among them.
The run, marking its 25th year in Portsmouth, is renowned as the world’s leading 10-mile running event.
The fast and flat course is suitable for runners of varying abilities.
The route begins on Southsea seafront and takes in Old Portsmouth before entering the Historic Dockyard.
Here you’re granted permission to run past serving Royal Navy ships and HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose museum.
After exiting the Dockyard you reach the halfway point on Winston Churchill Avenue, before making your way back towards Southsea Common, where you’ll complete the final two miles on the scenic seafront.
For those not quite ready to take on 10 miles, Saturday October 24 sees the Morrisons Great South Run 5K. And for the youngsters there’s the Morrisons Junior and Mini Great South Run events, also on the 24th.
Whether it’s for a personal fitness challenge or to raise money for a cause close to your heart, signing up is easy. Simply go to www.greatrun.org/south and follow the steps online.
Are you taking part for a good cause or personal reason? Email us at
email@example.com or tweet @portsmouthnews using the hashtag #reasontorun