Sun shone on Great South Run as it lived up to the hype

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THE world's biggest 10-mile run lived up to the hype as 20,000  runners shone on a glorious day.

It was perhaps fitting that such a special occasion was marked by Chris Thompson claiming an unprecedented hat-trick of wins at the Simplyhealth Great South Run after taking the men’s elite title in just 46 minutes 56 seconds.

Simplyhealth Great South Run 2018, Southsea Common, Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Simplyhealth Great South Run 2018, Southsea Common, Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

For the women, Elish McClogan, daughter of two time Great South Run winner Liz and European medallist, made a flawless debut into the 10-mile run after claiming the title ahead of Steph Twell and reigning champion Gemma Steel.

But the day was not just about the elite runners as people of all ages and abilities came from all over the UK and beyond to compete – with runners coming from as far afield as South Africa and Germany. 

A 93-year-old man also saw age as no barrier as he completed the course in what turned out to be unseasonably warm conditions.

More than 75 charities were involved in the event with organisers hoping the £3.5m raised last year will be beaten this time round. These included the 17-year-old sister of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, Courtney and boxer Kate Farley, who suffers with cerebral palsy. They were raising money for the Lee Rigby Foundation and Superpeople respectively.

Ed Plager finished just 12 minutes behind the elite men’s winner Thompson. The 35-year-old said: ‘It was an inspiration for me to line up alongside runners like Chris Thompson. It’s a superb event that is flawlessly organised and does so much good.’

Mick Runnalls from Fareham was running for child bereavement charity Simon Says which is close to his heart.

The 34-year-old said: ‘My friend Karl Law died a few years ago and left behind his son, Lenny, and Simon Says has been a great support to him.

‘No child should have to grow up without their parents but it brings some comfort that this amazing charity is on hand to help.’

Another runner who took part for a very good cause was Ben Slater whose son has sadly been diagnosed with Lukemia. He managed to raise an incredible £2,300 for Piam Brown Cancer Unit.

He said ‘I found the run very challenging in the heat but the support has been unbelievable.’

Jayne Fearn, Simplyhealth spokesperson, added: ‘The glorious sunshine made for great conditions for a fantastic weekend of events.’

‘Supporting runners every step of the way, thousands enjoyed our post-run stretch zone and free massage. We’re already looking forward to next year.’

Title partner Simplyhealth continues to support runners with its dedicated train and prepare section on its website.