The Pyramids, Clarence Esplanade, Portsmouth, Southsea PO5 3ST, UK
Sun 22nd October 2017
Starting amid a sea of colour on Clarence Esplanade and with a beautiful, flat course that takes you through the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and along a route filled with bands and music, it’s no wonder this is the World’s leading 10 mile running event. For runners, joggers and walkers, setting PBs, raising money for charity and getting fit, the Great South Run is part of a festival of sport with up to 30,000 people taking part in events across the weekend, including the Junior & Mini Great South Run and the Great South Run 5k, staged the day before the 10 mile event.
Everything an event runner needs... except parking. Historically Portsmouth is an island, now connected with the rest of the mainland by a handful of roads, backed by some steep hills and cliffs. The impact of this geography is that as Portsmouth has grown, there has been nowhere for the population to 'spread,' which means the city is one of the most densely populated in Europe, which means that car-parking spaces are few and far between!
It is worth persevering to find a parking space however, or - even better - using public transport, as the Great South Run is genuinely great. The 10 mile distance makes it accessible to newer runners looking for a challenge while the flat course offers a PB opportunity for more experienced runners who want to stretch their legs. The course is closed to traffic, well-marshalled, has water and feed stations, and has plenty of interest as it passes through the historic dockyard and along the seafront. The presence of elite runners, such as Eilish McColgan in 2018 and 2019, is a rare chance for amateur runners to see their heroes in action... and, wow, Eilish McColgan is so much faster in real life than on a screen!
Online registration is easy and the administration on the day is excellent, with runners grouped by colour based on pace which means that every participant will be surrounded by others of a similar pace. There are plenty of toilets at the start / finish, entertainment at various stages around the course, mass warm-up activities, group and individual photos, bins for empty bottles and discarded clothing, and an excellent finishers' medal / goody bag combo.
My personal highlight, apart from seeing Eilish McColgan, was being cheered on by a couple of street-sweepers who had paused while cleaning-up discarded bottles at one of the water stations, which just goes to show how enthusiasm becomes contagious at such well-attended events.
In summary, I will definitely do the Great South Run again... but might try to balance it with the Great North Run first!
Lives up to its name... Great. I did this event last year. Back then it was my first “distance” run. Since then I’ve done a few longer runs, but was rally looking forward to coming back. What a come back. Managed to set my personal best for 10K, 15K and 10 miles - by 13 minutes. A great course and a great atmosphere.
A fantastic event all round.. It was the very first time for me to run at the Simply Health Great South Run and over a distance of 10 miles. The atmosphere was electrifying all around the entire course. Seeing Elite Athletes also taking part is also inspiring too. It was one of the best ever events I have taken part in to date. Everyone from the race Organisers down to the volunteers who put in endless hours and work to make it such an success in many ways. The entertainment everywhere was just the sight to inspire you on. The support from the crowd calling out your name was simply the motivation to keep you going right to the end. Overall I will give the Simply Health Great South Run a score of 5 out of 5. I will be definitely attending this event in 2020 and look forward to enjoying the unbelievable experience all over again. Highly recommended event to anyone.
Efficiently run event, nice and flat, good finishers goodies. Lucky with the weather again. Lots of loos, good elite field to inspire us. Fast course if a touch long. Good quality T-shirt and nice medal. Some Kelloggs and Clif edibles in the bag and a tin of tuna (give it to your cat).