Entries for the Great South Run are open at: Greatrun.org/South
A young boy with Down syndrome will take on his first-ever running challenge at the Great South Run to raise awareness about the condition in his community.
Three-year-old Sebby Fyans, from Portsmouth, will take on the Mini Great South Run to support the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association, which has helped him throughout his life.
He decided to follow in his Mum Rebecca’s and Dad Mike’s footsteps after watching them complete the Great South Run in support of the charity last year.
Little Sebby cheered his mum and dad on from the sidelines before hopping down to join his Dad for the final stretch of the event to cross the finish line with him.
But this year, Sebby, who learned to walk around the time of the event, will take on the 1.5km course of the Mini Great South Run around the Southsea Common, with his mum taking on the Great South 5k beforehand.
He will be joined by a team of classmates from his nursery, who will run alongside him in the event in support of the charity.
Rebecca, who works in the Navy, said: “A lot of Sebby’s therapists only concentrate on what Sebby cannot do instead of how amazing he is and what he can do.
“He was born eight weeks prematurely and we found out through a blood test that he had a 1:2 chance of being born with Down syndrome.
“We declined the amniocentesis test as this carried a risk of miscarriage and we had struggled to conceive Sebby so there was no way in the world we would do anything to harm him.
“Some of the struggles along the way have been noticing that his developmental mile stones like walking and talking are a lot more delayed then that a typically developing child.
“He didn’t learn to walk until he was two and is still learning to talk, but we have learned that every child is different. We had a lot of medical appointments over the years but this has settled down now.
“Sebby started learning to walk around the time of the run last year and he loved it so much that we thought it would be a great for him to be involved this year.”
The Fyans family were supported by the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association from the moment Sebby was born, that has led to Sebby making friends across the country.
Rebecca is now also a secretary for the charity and helps to meet new families and integrate them into the community.
Rebecca added: “The early days can be a very lonely place and its nice to know that you are not the only person going through things.
“It’s nice to be able to give something back to the community and to help provide and a warm and welcome guidance for new partents with a baby with Down syndrome.
“Sebby loves his nursery and I mentioned to the staff at the nursery that he was running.
“A few of the parents were asked if they wanted to join in and they said it would be a good idea to get a nursery team together, so Sebby could run with some of his friends.
“His friends are also coming from as far as Swindon to run with him so it will be an amazing day.”
The Great South Run, the world’s leading 10-mile, returns to Portsmouth and Southsea on Sunday 23 October where a sea of 25,000 runners will pound the pavements of the fast and flat course.
Every year 2,500 young runners warm up the streets of Southsea at the Junior and Mini Great South Run the day before the event.
The biggest children’s running event in the South will take place on Saturday 22 October, following the Great South 5k, forming a packed festival of sport in the region.
Do you want to create your own gold medal moment? Set yourself a challenge and prove to yourself that you can be great.
To enter the Great South Run, the Great South Run 5k or the Junior and Mini Great South Run, visit: Greatrun.org/South