Lord Mayor Signs Up To South 5K As Part Of Campaign

Great Comeback 3

To enter the Simplyhealth Great South 5k, visit: Greatrun.org/South

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, councillor Lee Mason, has signed up to run the Simplyhealth Great South 5k as part of his campaign to encourage the city to eat better, move more and help others.

Cllr Mason, who has lived in Portsmouth for all of his life, will run 5km on Saturday 20 October as part of the Simplyhealth Great South Run weekend as he looks to inspire others to change their eating habits and get involved in exercise.

The Lord Mayor launched the Small Changes Big Difference campaign when he took office in May, after becoming concerned that his own weight was leading to health problems.

The campaign aims to get the city to collectively lose one million pounds in weight, walk one million miles and volunteer one million hours during the Lord Mayor's term in office.

300 people have signed up to be a part of the campaign in the city so far, achieving a combined weight loss of 190lbs,travelling over 9,500 miles and volunteering more than 1000 hours of their time.

The Lord Mayor will join a team of runners who have signed up to the campaign on the start line of the Simplyhealth Great South 5k, where he will also be the event's honorary starter.

Cllr Mason said: "I launched the campaign for my term in office as Portsmouth has higher rates of obesity than many other places in the UK and it's causing people to die younger and have a poorer quality of life.

“I also wanted to include a volunteering element as I'm a passionate volunteer and see how much of an impact it has on organisations.

“I'm hoping that the small changes I'm making to my lifestyle will inspire others as if I can do them anyone can. At the end of my year as Lord Mayor I'm really hoping to have made a lasting change for the city and help it to be a healthier, better place to live."

Joining the Lord Mayor in running the Simplyhealth Great South 5k will be husband and wife James and Alex Yorke, from Portsmouth who have gone from complete non-runners to 5k participants in a matter of months.

The couple both joined the Baffins Fit Club running group in the city and were inspired to sign up to the event after taking part in the couch to 5k programme, hoping to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Alex, 40, said: “I feel so much fitter now, I actually enjoy running outdoors with friends and I can fit into my favourite jeans again. “It is daunting taking the plunge to try something new, but if you can find a community to support you like those in the campaign, that's one way of reaching your goal.”

The Simplyhealth Great South 5k offers 1,000 runners of all ages and abilities to take on a 5k challenge as part of a packed weekend of sport in the city.

The event is part of the build-up to the world's leading 10-mile event the following day.

As part of his training, the Lord Mayor has been attending sessions with local running groups, as well as receiving support and fitness coaching with the Royal Navy.

He added: “I know that my own weight has led to health problems and I want to be an inspiration rather than a warning. If I can change my eating habits and get more active then anyone can.”

For more information about the Small Changes Big Difference Campaign, visit: https://www.smallchangesportsmouth.co.uk

To enter the Simplyhealth Great South 5k, visit: Greatrun.org/South