CROSSING the finish line after completing the 10-mile long Great South Run is a great feeling.
For Pompey match-day presenter ‘Touchline’ Tony Male, that feeling was made even sweeter as he also smashed his fundraising target – collecting an incredible £30,000 for a charity close to his heart.
Tony ran yesterday’s race in Southsea accompanied by 24 others, including former players Dave Waterman, Lee Bradbury and David Birmingham. They were cheered on by Blues great Andy Awford and ex-defender Guy Butters.
The group undertook the challenge in aid of the Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation, a charity set up by Dave Waterman and his wife Lorraine, in memory of their son Oakley who died aged six from a rare form of cancer in 2005. The foundation gives respite holidays to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
The race was Tony’s 25th consecutive Great South Run and he was delighted to raise so much for the good cause.
Tony said: ‘It was great, absolutely fabulous. It was one of the most enjoyable races that I have ever done. A few of the team managed to stick together and cross the finish line together.
‘The crowds and the weather were great. It was my best Great South Run ever. The support that we have received from friends, family and the public on the way round has been brilliant.
‘To think that we have raised £30,000 for such a worthy charity is even better. All the runners have had an amazing day. It’s been great.’
Dave, from Gosport, said he was amazed by the support shown and the effort that Tony has put in.
He said: ‘It’s the time and effort that Tony puts in behind the scenes, it’s typical Tony to really get behind something. It’s phenomenal. He is a true friend. For him to put himself out there and under so much pressure is incredible.’
Dave said the money would help to run the two caravans provided by the foundation for a year.
Tony, who has raised money for more than 20 charities over the years, completed the race in 1hr 49mins.
Tony was not the only one running to raise money for a good cause. Thousands of the 25,000 runners were supporting different charities.
Sisters Helen and Ruth Dewar, 32, and friend Jo Stanley, 46, ran to raise cash for the Courage Foundation, an international organisation that supports those who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record.
A large group also ran in green T-shirts in aid of the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association, while others ran for stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands, the MND Association, Dreams Come True, Macmillan, plus many more.