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The Great South Run

by Shailey Smythe

My first ever Great South Run!

My first GSR and I signed up as heard such positive feedback from club runners who had taken part previously and I have to say you weren’t wrong! With a race start of 10am for the elite, the rest were staggered in waves I was a 10:56 start time so travelled down the day before and stayed a short drive away. Plenty of travel options to the start of the race we parked on Southsea common for £10, a large field right by the start and finish. After a 20min queue for the loo (top tip don’t use the first bunch of loos you see there are plenty further down the start lines) made my way down to the clearly signposted wave areas. Each wave had pacers and a little warm up whilst you waited, and when your wave started it wasn’t long before you cross the start line, and I was lucky enough to find Yvonne Obrien to start the race with.

The 10 mile route takes you through Portsmouth, mile 2ish is through the dockyard and for me this was the best bit, round by the naval boats and houses and the HMS Victory with the route lined by police and members of the navy cheering us all on all through this bit which I loved. The whole course is pancake flat and very well supported, only mile 7.5-8.5 had patches of no supporters but this was along the seafront so the view made up for it. Was lucky to spot another FRC runner at about mile 6.5 and had a quick chat with Caroline Parkinson who was also running.

Plenty of pit stop stations along the way, 2 water stations from memory, with plenty of bottles being handed out, a Garmin station a Cliff station giving out whole packs of cliff blocks and bars (I got 2 packs to save for later!) and think there was another station maybe special K. Plenty of bands and homemade discos set up all the way which was fab, and supporters giving out cheers and plenty of jelly babies.

Overall the route wasn’t too congested with most people running, rather than walkers, and I did see loos on the way round.

At the end lots of support, a nice goody bag with T shirt, medal some snacks and vouchers and an event village with massages, free food, snacks and plenty of cool photo stations.

Having done the GNR this year can honestly say this for me was a better event, it’s exactly the same set up with the same amount of superb support without the huge masses of people making it too congested to run and obviously isn’t so far to travel! Entries are already open for next years event and I will definitely be putting my name down! Also only took us 20 mins to get out of the car park at the end so result.

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