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Great South Run – SJ Members’ Highlights

Patrick Wadsworth

‘I had planned on running the GSR with a friend but they were injured so plans for the run changed.  Wayne kindly drove me down and we enjoyed the sunshine on the walk to the start area but didn’t see any other SJs in any of the cafes we looked in.

Well organised start area with plenty of urinals making things less stressful for us males (and also the ladies one hopes).  Dropped our bags of and went our separate ways to the start waves.  The number of people in each wave is huge and with only one pacer it was difficult to tell where to position myself in the holding area.

Ten milers are a tough distance if you are used to longer runs – is it a short half or a long 10K?  I take them as a long 10k which means pretty much flat out from the gun and hang on for the next hour and a bit.  The weather warmed up during the event and hydration became an issue.  The bottles (do events really still provide bottles?) at the water stops had very narrow necks which made drinking difficult without stopping and eventually I had to walk a few paces to get a proper amount inside.

The course is flat and fast and not windy this year so I enjoyed running hard and was pleased to get close to my time set at Maidenhead at Easter.’


Mo Willcox

‘Having run a few times on the SJ 10K to 10 mile course initiated by Lisa Harrold & Craig, I thought I should enter the GSR. The weather was so lovely, Caroline had recommended the cafe for all the SJs to meet at & that made for a good start to the event! It’s a great flat route and I loved the music around the course. The crowd support is great, there are water stops, energy gels and jelly babies if you want them, so much to recommend about this run. The only downside was the queue to get out of the car park!’


Harvey Young

‘Sunday was my first GSR and first 10 mile race, the plan was to get into a steady rhythm and stay there, which I did actually manage and play my normal game of picking out a runner in the distance and aiming to catch and pass them, this I did and was even passing others on the finish straight, all in all a nicely organised race and great to meet up with other SJ runners at the beginning and end.’

GSR Harvey.jpg

Caroline Cutliffe

‘For me GSR is much more than about just running; it’s about friendship, support for fellow runners and each crossing the line with a smile for their own reasons. A glorious sunny morning with many SJs in anticipation of the couple of hours ahead of them – having breakfast; pinning numbers on; getting excited; getting nervous; and reminiscing – for me, of the lovely Ron Howlett who loved this event but who sadly we lost. Never forgotten Ron. ‘Have a blow’ he used to say so that’s exactly what I did which is why it took me so long to cross the finish line!! But what a great event for everyone looking for PBS or just finishing. I just finished!’

GSR Caroline running for ron


Mark Foker

‘Fantastic day couldn’t have asked for better weather! Well organised once again. Great camaraderie from fellow runners and the crowds cheering us all on were brilliant. People put their high fi speakers on their car roofs to blast out some tunes to keep the runner’s going.’

GSR Julie, Angela, Mark

Angela Foker

‘I attended the 10k to 10 mile group a few times prior to the event this year and I think it helped as I felt comfortable running the whole distance. We met with a crowd of other SJs in the cafe on the front before and after the race. The GSR is a great race as there is lots of support, refreshments and various bands all the way round. Luckily the weather was kind to us for the last leg along the seafront. I have booked for next year as I really enjoyed this race.’


Michelle Wilson

‘I’ve never run a 10 mile event before and have only run further or shorter races. Patrick Wadsworth had mentioned the pacing challenge of a 10 miler… run faster than a half, but not as fast as a 10km. Great advice for someone who has more than one speed! That’s not me! However, with the training help of the 10km to 10mile Wednesday group, I was looking forward to the race. It really didn’t disappoint. The weather was perfect, the race was well organised, parking was really good AND I got to have a second breakfast in the cafe with other SJs before the race. The race itself was great; lots of cheering, music, water, gels and jelly babies along the way. Such a good day… I was only back at home for an hour before I booked my place on the GSR 2019! I would really recommend this one.’


Tamzin Evershed

‘It was so much fun to see the other SJs and I can honestly say that I really loved the atmosphere, the crowds, the music and the scenery. We were blessed with great weather too which is always a bonus. I didn’t wear my SJ T-shirt for fear of exposing the club to ridicule if I found it hard going but I’ll be wearing it next year, and may even dare to enter a half again.’

You can read Tamzin’s full account here

GSR SJ crew after finish

Jonathan Evershed

‘I was absolutely petrified before starting but just started running and kept running until I crossed the line. Everybody on the day was very supportive and the club is too. Have not signed up again yet, but I imagine between them Blanche and Lisa will twist my arm.’

Blanche Barnes

‘Main objective for the day was to provide encouragement, company & motivation for my (non-SJ) friend Jane – who has run VLM twice for charity – but as yet does not love running (…I know, how is that even possible??) – well there’s a challenge I couldn’t resist! (Especially as my PB chasing is becoming harder by the day).  Cue an early morning start to beat the traffic, a huge team of friendly SJs in the lovely café, great sunny weather, a scenic flat course with wonderful crowd support… how could she not enjoy it? Well of course she did, and she’s already signed up for next year. 😊

As for my run, first 5 miles felt good, but I had a water station mis-hit at mile 6 which totally upset my rhythm & I never quite got back into the zone… by mile 8 I was struggling a bit, (& regretting having done Cabbage Patch the previous week). But I kept focused on the finish, and at mile 9, reminded myself its just like the last mile of handicap but no hills, so what was I fussing about… finally made my target time with just 8 sec to spare, though v happy with that as almost 6 mins off last year. Race itself was very well organized, tho exit arrangements from the car park on Southsea Common were shambolic, something to bear in mind for next time.’

GSR Caroline & Blanche in SJ colours


Helena Jones

‘I just wanted to say a big thank you to SJ and particularly Lisa and Craig’s 10k to 10 mile running course. This enabled me to complete the GSR and I was pleased with the time. First time I’ve ever ran that far and loved the event!’

Helena Jones at GSR.jpg


Kate Turnell

‘GSR this year was the most beautiful day and an event to do again and again – from the shouting of all the supporters and fellow SJs as they whizzed past, to our friend who had come down to support at the finish line. I ran it this year with my oldest childhood friend who had only started training (and running) about two months ago – she was amazing and so determined not to stop – and we didn’t. She was blown away by the event and I think she may be a convert (and a potential future SJ). I was pleased to be under 2 hours and to get my 7th medal and tshirt this year. Same time next year everyone?’

GSR Kate Turnell.jpg

Louise Heginbotham

‘This was my first time running the GSR . It would only be my 2nd furthest race ever after my first half I did earlier this year (that I hated with a passion and struggled to run the last few miles on so I was worried I might have the same fate on this run!) I was however pleasantly surprised as I really enjoyed it and felt good all the way round! It was a hot day (in contrast to the Wellesley 10k wash out the week before!) nice and flat with lots of good support and music all the way round and I had the great company of running it with Katie so we made sure we took the odd selfie! I enjoyed it so much I’ve already joined up for next year.’

GSR Lucy, Katie, louise.jpg

Sam Goodall

‘The crowds were brilliant so we managed to get into a really good pace only slowing to wait for people but by mile 6 I was alone and settled into a nice pace and enjoyed all the crowds and music. I had hoped for under 2 hours 15 mins and came in in 2 hours 7. Here’s to next year!’

Click here to read more about Sam’s run

Sam, Helena & Karen GSR

Helena-Jane Fletcher

‘Everything seemed to be going fine up to mile 7 when my legs started shouting abuse at me. Luckily for me a met a lovely lady who was jeffing and I asked to join her. We crossed the finish line together and I couldn’t of been prouder. Not sure I’ll ever see this lady again but she certainly gave me the boost I needed. I had a great time and in the process raised money for my chosen charity.’

Sam & Helena GSR

Deb Harris

‘There are a lot of good points for running Great South Run. I love the atmosphere from the start to finish. The crowds and support en route are one of the best, it seems like half of Portsmouth is out cheering you on and handing out Jelly babies. There’s plenty of music to keep you going from pipers and drummers to sound systems in the residential areas of the run. There really aren’t many negatives, but It is a massive run with 20,000 participants and it felt like half were in the green wave! The start is crowded for a good 1.5 miles where it starts to thin out slightly. I Jeffed (3:1) with Lou again who is still struggling with aches and pains, and the warm day took its toll after mile 7 but we still managed to smile at the finish and after saying never again, no doubt we will be back!

Deb GSR.jpg

Stuart Mayes

‘Last year, I ran my first GSR and in fact, my first 10 mile race. I was so impressed with the big event buzz, that I signed up for the 2018 event, 1 day after the 2017 run.
For me, race day conditions were perfect. At the start, my pacing was impeccable. So much so, that I was in front of every pacing bunny. By mile 1, I amused myself immensely by slapping Jim Laidlaw on the back and pointing out, he wasn’t running fast enough. It was going perfectly. At around the 8 mile mark, I gently increased the pace to close in on the bunny.  By the final corner which I think is around 400 meters before the finish, I had closed to around 20 meters. It was time to use those handfuls of Jelly Baby goodness. I finished in 1:13:23. GSR and the 1:15 bunny pacer, thank you. See you in 2019.’
You can read Stuart’s full report here



Jim Laidlaw

‘I was expecting a busy but flat 10m route ,correct on both counts. Went with a target of 66 mins which was on par with the first 10 at Bournemouth half two weeks ago.
Disappointed that the large start pens weren’t split up on to better time zones , just a mass start which meant a far bit of weaving inside the first mile to try and get some clear running space. Lot of headphones in use and I actually caught the heel of one lady who came straight across me on one turn .
I ended up flagging at around 7 miles and came in at 69 mins . This still was a little PB so I was just about happy. Probably won’t rush back as it’s not a cheap race and the exit out of Portsmouth was awful.’
GSR Jim Laidlaw
Amy Gates
‘It was my first GSR, and my first 10 mile race. I was running in memory of my sister, who had lost her fight against cancer 10 years ago on 21st October, I’d decided to raise money for the Sebastian Action Trust and the sponsor money had flooded in. The excitement inside was growing, the sun was shining and I was feeling really positive for the run and for my sister.  The first few miles were spent weaving, I’d spotted a friend ahead and raced to catch up, to say good luck, after a quick chat I was in the zone again and enjoying the sights of the historic dockyards. I wasn’t far off my 9 minute mile race pace, the crowds were brilliant and I loved the music stations along the way. Knowing I’d see my husband and kids any moment kept me going. Soon I could hear their cheers, I blew kisses and waved with excitement. I’d run the GSR in 1.34mins. A great race, which I’ll be doing again next year!’
GSR Amy.jpg
Lucy Howard
First run in SJ vest. Great atmosphere and perfect conditions. Thanks for all the advice from members (and jelly babies) on the 10k to 10 miles course.’
GSR Lucy Howard

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