Henderson Road Home To Be Official Band On The Run

Great Comeback 1

Watch live coverage of the Great South Run on Channel 5 between 10.00 and 12.00 on Sunday 23 October.

A pensioner who opens up her home for the Great South Run with her family each year to support runners in memory of her late husband will see it become an official band on the run.

Each year, 77-year-old Maggie Baker transforms her home on Henderson Road in Southsea into a live music venue, complete with pa system, to cheer on the thousands of runners which pass it during the Great South Run.

She is joined outside her home, which sits near mile 8 on the course, by her son Tom and daughter Dawn, along with a crowd of forty friends and family.

Tom is equipped with a microphone and also hires a DJ to make sure runners are motivated towards the final stretch of the course.

Maggie has been entertaining the crowds outside her home for four years but recently became inspired to make it bigger and better after losing her husband Alex to cancer in 2014.

She will donate the fee for being an official band on the route to Naomi's House children's hospice in Hampshire.

Maggie said: “We have always had a big group of us outside the house to support the Great South run for around four years. My husband Alex loved it, it was the highlight of his year.

“He previously worked in the Royal Navy and was very sporty, so seeing everyone passing by and doing so well gave him so much pleasure.

“When he died of lung cancer, that year we really went to town and put music out and Tom asked a DJ to come along. It's just grown from there.

“The front of the house is big enough to put some tables outside and I always put food out for people.

“We started it because we wanted to cheer on the runners, but now we are the ones who get the cheer when people pass the house!

“I know Alex would be looking down on us and laughing, he would have absolutely loved it.”

55 Henderson Road will join a list of 13 official bands on the run when the Great South Run returns to Portsmouth on Sunday 23 October.

This will mean that bands will entertain the 20,000 runners more than once on every mile on the route.

The fast and flat course of the Great South Run starts and finishes in Southsea, overlooking the Solent.

Runners pass the iconic sights of Spinnaker Tower and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home to HMS Victory and HMS Warrior before approaching Henderson Road just before the eighth mile.

Maggie's son Tom, who has took part in 14 Great South Runs, added: “My mum and the rest of the family used to cheer me on from the house when I used to take part in the event, so it is nice to be on the other side now.

“It feels fantastic to keep the runners moving, before we started playing music I think that mile 8 was a little boring.

“It's great to see people clapping and cheering as they pass us and that they are being lifted at a time where they will be getting tired.”

A full list of the bands on the run can be found below:

2 Miles – Rose and Thistle Pipe Band

3 Miles – Royal Marines and the Maritime Brass Band

3.5 Miles – Batala drums

4 Miles – Panjazz International

4.5 Miles – Student Radio station

5 Miles – PA System

5.5 Miles – PA System

6.5 Miles – PA system

7.5 Miles – 55 Henderson Road

8 Miles – PA system

8.5 Miles – Wave 105's Wall of Sound 9 Miles – Portsmouth Triathlon Club

9.5 Miles – PA system

Watch live coverage of the Great South Run on Channel 5 between 10.00 and 12.00 on Sunday 23 October.