Great South Run 2019: Meet the inspirational runners who have already signed up for this year’s Portsmouth run

Lisa Dunkley, far left, at the launch of the 2019 Great South Run with prospective runners Cheryl Skedgel-Hill, Geoff Rees, Ellie-Mae Carter, double winter Olympic gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold and Dawn Dunsterville. Picture: Sarah Standing (310119-7842)
Lisa Dunkley, far left, at the launch of the 2019 Great South Run with prospective runners Cheryl Skedgel-Hill, Geoff Rees, Ellie-Mae Carter, double winter Olympic gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold and Dawn Dunsterville. Picture: Sarah Standing (310119-7842)
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WATCHING from the sideline as her loved ones completed the 2018 Great South Run was a bittersweet experience for Cheryl Skedgel-Hill.

The 55-year-old from Gosport was itching to take part herself but was undergoing treatment for stage three breast cancer. 

After doctors found a malignant tumour during a mammogram check she started chemotherapy on her birthday and subsequently lost all her hair. 

But this year is different. Cheryl has now completed radiotherapy and, a week after she did, made it her mission to unite with thousands of others and complete 2019’s race. 

She said: ‘You wouldn’t believe how determined I am – when I’m running I feel like a world champion.

‘I want to prove to everybody having cancer is not the be-all and end-all.’

‘I’m very excited for the race’

COMPLETING the Great South Run is light work for Gerard Beauvoisin – and there is nothing he allows to get in the way of reaching the finishing line.

Known endearingly by pals at the Denmead Striders running club as Titch, the North End dad has completed every edition of the race since it began in 1990. 

But in 2012 his dedication shone like a beacon – when he postponed an operation to remove a cancerous tumour in his jaw because he feared he would miss the race. 

He has now had 10 major operations to remove the growth – which ate away half his jaw – and will complete the 2019 Great South Run with aspirations for a 1hr 10m finish.

He said: ‘I’m not as fit as I was 25 years ago, but I’m still there mentally and I’m very excited for the race.’

‘If I can do this, anyone can’

ROLL the clock back four years and Dawn Dunsterville was a size 24 weighing 18 stone. 

Now the 45-year-old from Fareham has shed a third of her body weight and has gone for a run for 677 days straight. 

She is determined to complete her third Great South Run this year – crossing the finishing line in less than an hour-and-a-half.

Dawn will run in aid of the British Heart Foundation, having lost her parents David and Janet to heart disease in 2010 and 2018.

She said: ‘If I can do this, anyone can. 

‘From experience this is an amazing course and running through the street with everybody shouting your name is an incredible feeling.’