Portsmouth 'disappointed' after Great South Run is given no live TV coverage

DISAPPOINTED city leaders and residents have vented their frustration at the lack of television coverage of last weekend’s Great South Run.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 18th October 2021, 11:23 am

The spectacle made its triumphant return on Sunday after having been cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 16,000 people attended the event, with thousands more lining the streets of the city to cheer on the runners, who raised millions for good causes.

However, unlike previous instalments, the sporting showcase was not broadcast live leaving residents feeling snubbed.

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Great South Run in Portsmouth. Picture: Keith Woodland (171021-0)

Now city leaders have urged Channel 5, which previously aired the race, to ensure Portsmouth is given its chance to shine on the small screen next year.

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Councillor Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, said the event showed ‘Portsmouth at its best, as a fantastic place to live and visit’.

‘It is disappointing we weren’t shown on TV,’ she added. ‘I know a lot of people on social media were shocked it wasn’t on TV. It is a shame this didn’t happen.

‘From the feedback, people really value the coverage both to look at afterwards and during it too. It helps to put us on that national map. I really hope it returns next year.’

The lack of television coverage saddened people on social media, with one woman saying: ‘Shame, I love seeing the aerial view of Southsea to Old Portsmouth and the dockyard.’

Another woman added she was ‘so disappointed’ and she ‘wanted to watch it’.

Nicholas Anderson, of Melrose Close, in Milton, wrote to The News to express his frustration at the lack of TV coverage.

He said: ‘Although it's great news that this year the Great South Run is back with all the ensuing money raised for worthwhile causes the question must be asked of why Channel 5 has decided not to screen the event live this year.

‘They have covered the event in its entirety for the last five years and in the last two with no commercial breaks.

‘Surely this major sporting event of the south coast deserves national coverage as indeed the Great North Run and the London Marathon have always done and this omission needs to be put right next year with one of the major networks agreeing to take it on.’

Speaking to The News on Sunday, Colin Murphy, event director of the Great South Run, said the situation was due to a scheduling problem and was optimistic Portsmouth’s event next year would make its return to the small screen.

He added: ‘It was a huge loss in some ways that it was not on TV. But we’re hopeful the cameras will return next year.’

The News has approached Channel 5 for comment.

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