The launch of the 25th Great South Run was marked as local running royalty, young and old, gathered at the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth today.
From three-year-old Millie Turner, from Bishops Waltham, the youngest runner at last year’s run - two weeks after her third birthday, to Southampton’s Dave Olsen, who’s never missed an event since the first one in 1990.
25 runners, one from every year, got together to share memories, bringing along an array of memorabilia like newspaper cuttings to a myriad of medals from past years.
Speakers included Saints’ FA Cup 1976 winning manager Lawrie McMenemy as well as Charlotte Purdue, last year’s third placed runner of Aldershot Athletics Club.
“You get a real taste of what it’s like to be an elite runner,” said Olsen, who was 24 when he ran his first race in 1990, which was held in Southampton at that time.
“I remember running down the Avenue after Frank Bruno, running the same races as Liz McColgan, Sonia O’Sullivan, Jo Pavey and many more, it’s just a great day out and I will continue to enjoy it – it’s great to get together today too,” he added.
Starting out in 1990 with just 2,000 participants in Southampton, the race 12 months later moved to Portsmouth where it now attracts around 25,000 runners.
Where it once passed through Southampton Common, it now follows a path through Portsmouth historic dockyard. The event is held across two days and includes junior and mini Great South Runs as well as a 5k event.
Entries are now open for the 25th Great South Run at greatrun.org