Alan And Della Pascoe To Be Great South Run Starters

Watch live coverage of the Great South Run on Channel 5 on Sunday 23 October between 10am and 12noon.

Olympic athletes Alan and Della Pascoe will return to Portsmouth where their athletics careers began to be official starters at the Great South Run.

The couple, who hail from the city, will set off the world's leading 10 mile running event on Sunday 23 October when it returns for the 27th year of it's staging.

Alan is best known for winning Commonwealth and European gold in the 400m hurdles and Olympic silver in the 4 x 400m relay and previous British 100m record holder and Olympic semi-finalist Della competed in the sprints at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and the 1972 Games in Munich.

Alan represented British athletics in five events and was Team captain in 1971, before his services to sport earned him an MBE in 1975.

He was also vice-chairman of the successful London bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Great South Run starts and finishes in Southsea and features a fast and flat 10 mile course that has been graced by world-class athletes such as Liz McColgan, Paula Radcliffe, Sonia O'Sullivan, and Mo Farah, who won the men's race in 2009.

The Great South Run gives participants the unique opportunity to run through Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, passing iconic landmarks such as HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose Museum.

Olympic Gold Medallist sailors Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark will join the couple on the start line to set off the elite women before Alan and Della send over 20,000 runners on their way around the city on a packed weekend of sport.

Alan and Della Pascoe said: “The Great South Run is a fantastic course with a great atmosphere.

“We're very happy to be able to return to our home city to set thousands of inspiring runners on their way to begin their 10 mile journey.

“Whether it is running, jogging or walking, we're very proud to see so many people be encouraged to get active in and around Portsmouth.”

Brendan Foster, Chairman of the Great Run Company, said: “Alan and Della were both brought up in Portsmouth and were coached in the city by Della's father before they achieved huge success in athletics.

“They competed regularly in the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games all over the world but their hearts were always in Portsmouth.

“Alan went on to be instrumental in the 2012 London Olympics campaign and in the success of British Athletics.

“Now he is coming back to where it all started and I know he is a big fan of the Great South Run, partly because it is his home and he understands the value of big events like this for cities like Portsmouth.”

The Great South Run has grown into a festival of sport around Portsmouth and Southsea, with 25,000 people taking part in four events across two days, including the Junior & Mini Great South Run and the Great South Run 5k.

Watch live coverage of the Great South Run on Channel 5 between 10am and 12noon.