The Great South Run

The BUPA Great South Run, based in Portsmouth, is Britain’s most popular 10 mile race. The event starts and finishes on the seafront in Southsea, it attracts over 18,500 runners every year and passes beautiful scenery and many historic landmarks.


The Great South Run has not always started in Portsmouth. When the race began in 1990, it took place in Southampton. However, it was then claimed by Portsmouth City Council’s leisure department just a year later.

The first man to win the first race in 1990 was Marti ten Kate, a Dutchman. He completed the race in 47 minutes and 52 seconds, but won the race by only 17 seconds, beating British man Paul-Davies Hale.

The first female to claim the title of the women’s race was Alison Gooderham, who completed the race in 56 minutes and 9 seconds.

The last man to win the BUPA Great South Run in 2007 was Luke Kibet, a Kenyan who is a World Championship marathon runner. Rose Cheruiyot claimed the title for the fastest woman in 2007, completing the race in 53 minutes and 44 seconds.

Taking part in the race

There are still places available for people wanting to take part in the BUPA Great South Run 2008 on Sunday 26th October. Entrants have to be at least 16 or over to enter the race. To enter online, just click here

Business Entries

The race provides a Business Challenge event which is open to large or small businesses. Trophies will be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams in each category. All businesses that enter 12 or more employees into the race will receive an engraved plaque for the company to present to the winning employee. To download the business challenge form, click here

How to enter the race for charity

There are many charities who would love volunteers to enter the race to raise money for them. Charities such as the British Red Cross and the NSPCC have their own websites where you can contact them to let them know you would like to enter the race. To see the list of charities who have places for the BUPA Great South Run, please click here

Entrants with disabilities

Disabled entrants are welcome to compete and there is an elite race for those wishing to compete in BWRA (British Wheelchair Racing Association) events. Those who want to be pushed are also welcome, but pushers need to have their own entry into the race.


Lots of training is needed before entering a big race like the BUPA Great South Run. Warming up, stretching and cooling down is advised for every run. Start off slowly and gently before building up length and speed. It may be a good idea to hire a professional trainer, or alternatively you could meet up with someone in your local area who is also competing in the race.

Lots of other essential training advice can be found here

What to wear for the Great South Run

It is advised that runners wear familiar shoes and socks instead of brand new ones. Keeping your feet dry is also important and you can also buy running socks that will stop you getting blisters on your feet.

For more information on what to wear, click here

Medical considerations

You should not participate in the race if you do not feel well or fit enough, even if you have raised money for charity. You can find lots of medical advice from doctors and the race organisers here

If you feel unwell during the race, however, medics from Hampshire Ambulance and St. John’s Ambulance will be situated throughout the course to help you. There will also be doctors and nurses at the finish line if you need them.

It is not a good idea to drink alcohol the night before the race, as this can cause dehydration. Excessive amounts of caffeine can also cause fluid loss, so numerous cups of tea and coffee should be avoided.

Once you have reached the finish line, it is best to keep walking instead of standing still completely. You should change into dry clothing as soon as possible and you should have drinks to replace lost fluids.

How to volunteer and help out

To volunteer to help, check out, one of several websites offering you the opportunity to register your interest.


If you are going to support your friends or family in the race, or simply just want to watch then the start and finish areas will be available to view. Spectators are asked to stay behind the barriers and off the roads, however, so as not to crowd the area.

The finish line will be at Southsea Common near the Skate Park. It is advised that family and friends arrange a meeting point at the finish in advance of the race. If you lose your friends and family, however, there will be colour co-ordinated reunion areas with A-Z letter boards set up around the field, to represent the runner’s surname to enable an easy meet up.

Food and drink will also be available for spectators from catering vans on Castle Field and Southsea Common, which is just off Avenue de Caen.

Great South Run facts and statistics

  • The record for the fastest time for the completion of the Great South Race was claimed by Benson Maysa from Kenya in 1995, who completed the race in just 45 minutes and 56 seconds.
  • The fastest woman since the race began is Sonia O’Sullivan, who completed it in 51 minutes exactly.
  • Tushar Patel from Great Britain won the elite men’s wheelchair race in 2007 and completed it in 42 minutes and 52 seconds
  • Anne Wafula-Strike, also from Great Britain, got the title of fastest woman in the elite wheelchair race in 2007, completing the race in 59 minutes and 5 seconds

Famous competitors

The BUPA Great South Run has attracted many celebrities during its time, including people such as Eastenders’ star Jake Wood (Max Branning) and BBC Sport’s John Motson and Ray Stubbs.

The Course

The course begins at Clarence Esplanade in Southsea before going through Old Portsmouth, then Naval Dockyard and Eastney prior to returning to Clarence Esplanade. To see the course map, mile by mile, click here

Travel Information for the BUPA Great South Run

By Rail

Unfortunately maintenance work taking place on the rail network into Portsmouth means there will be no trains operating on race day. However, Network Rail is putting on a full bus replacement that will include direct buses from nearby stations into and out of Portsmouth especially for the BUPA Great South Run.

However, there are stations that are available just outside the city. The Portsmouth and Southsea station and the Portsmouth Harbour train station are only 20 minutes walk from where the race begins. For more information on train times nearer the date, please ring National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950.

By Ferry

A ferry can be caught from Gosport to Portsmouth Harbour, which is only a 20 minute walk away from the starting line. To find out ferry times, please click here

By Bus

Local bus information can be found by calling 023 9286 2412 or by clicking here

By Shuttle Bus

There is a Race Transfer Service which is available from Central London. For times and prices of this service, Incentevents can be contacted in the following ways:


01926 888 027



By Car

It is advised that participants and spectators use public transport where possible to avoid the queues that will be inevitable on race day. However, there is parking available in Portsmouth city centre at the Pay and Display car parks or at Gunwharf Quays, which is just a twenty minute walk from the start of the race.

Runners should set off early and arrive no later than 9.00am as there are only two routes into Portsmouth for traffic: the M275 western entrance and the Eastern Road (A2030). Signs for the BUPA Great South Run as you approach Portsmouth should be followed. Once you reach Portsmouth, there is an option to follow signs to the city centre or to Southsea seafront car park.


Nirvana Europe are the official providers of accommodation for the BUPA Great South Run. They have a range of travel and accommodation packages and can be contacted by telephone on 0191 293 6592. Alternatively you can visit their website here

There is also lots of other accommodation available in Portsmouth. To book a room for the BUPA Great South Run or for general enquiries, you can contact the Portsmouth tourist council office in the following ways:


023 9282 6722



Contact Details for the BUPA Great South Run

The organisers of the BUPA Great South Run can be contacted in the following ways:



0845 389 2200