Entries for the Simplyhealth Great South Run and the Simplyhealth Great South 5k are open. Enter at: Greatrun.org/south

Former athlete Colin McCourt has agreed to take on the Simplyhealth Great South 5k as part of a risky bet set by his mates when his weight crept up to 14 stone.

Colin was set the challenge of breaking 16 minutes for a 5km run by 17 of his athlete pals, including Ross Murray and 2017 Simplyhealth Great South Run winner Andy Vernon, at the beginning of January.

If he fails to complete the challenge by the end of this year, he must get all 17 of their names tattooed on his body. If he manages to run less than 16 minutes at an official 5km event in 2017, he will be rewarded with £1,700 - £100 from each person.

Colin, a keen vlogger, has been documenting his return to fitness on Instagram and will be updating us on his progress over the next three months:

"I hadn’t ran a step now five years later here I am, running and everything!"

My story is a bit of a mad one to be honest. I found a picture on my phone.

It was an old one of me back in my running days.

I posted it on social media and had a think for about 30 minutes and realised I was fat. This sounds brutal, but it was the truth, I was 94kg!

So, I went for a 20-minute run, while I was out there I thought right that’s it lets get fit, no more excuses.

I got my partner Rebecca to take a photo of me with my top off and I then posted that to social media (for some crazy reason) with a caption: ‘Right, everyone has a starting point this is mine.’

Then my friend got hold of it and sent it in to our 'boys' group chat' I didn’t check my phone for about 2 hours, then when I did the boys including international athletes Ross Murray, Andrew Osargie and Andy Vernon had decided that I was in the bet, they didn't give me an option.

This was as follows. I must run sub 16 minutes for 5k by the end of this year, the 31 December, or I have 17 of their names tattooed on me in Times New Roman.

The next day I was up at 6am and out the door for a run and the challenge had started. I hadn’t run for five years to this point. Since I retired in 2012, when I didn’t make the Olympic team.

I hadn’t ran a step now five years later here I am, running and everything. My training has gone amazing so far, I am not going to lie, I have had some dark days and negative runs but my approach is to make it fun and challenging at the same time.

I started with a 20-minute run every day, it was just about getting it done, not distance, not speed, just one foot in front of the other. I struggled to begin with, I was about 10-minute miling in February when I started.

Sweating, sore legs and chafing up to the eyeballs!

Now I am 75kgs and running 10 miles in around 6 minutes 30 seconds per mile. I just keep building it, adding something extra every day. The challenge is setting sessions and doing them.

The hardest thing is the demons in your head. We all have them and they try to take over and tell you, you can stay in bed and have an extra 10 minutes of sleep. But then I look at the baby and Rebecca and I am up, motivated and out the door.

Even on the runs where you have the tough miles, when your mind goes to the places that test you, I just keep pushing and believing in myself.

Colin will be blogging regularly about his 5k challenge at the Simplyhealth Great South 5k, offering tips to runners who are taking on the events that weekend.

The Simplyhealth Great South 5k takes place on Saturday 21 October. 

The event is part of the famous Simplyhealth Great South Run weekend, a festival of sport in Portsmouth and Southsea, featuring the world’s leading 10 mile running event, the Simplyhealth Great South Run, on Sunday 22 October.

Entries for the Simplyhealth Great South Run and the Simplyhealth Great South 5k are open. Enter at: Greatrun.org/south