Tom Bosworth Challenges Runners Of The Great South Run

Great Comeback 2

Join thousands of runners on the start line of the Great South Run by entering here at Greatrun.org/south

Rio Olympic hopeful Tom Bosworth, one of Britain's greatest ever race walkers, is challenging participants of the Great South Run 5k to run the event quicker than he walks it.

Tom, who holds the national record for the 3k, 5k, 10k and 20k distances, was at Southsea Common to issue the challenge to runners of the 5k event, which he is also taking part in on Saturday 22nd October.

The British number one will walk the route and will reward any speedy runner who beats his time with a free entry into next year's Great South Run 5k!

Tom said: “I think the challenge to run faster than I walk is a great one. No one has any idea how fast race walkers can go and when they hear my British 5km record, some are stunned.

“I might not be at the peak of fitness for the Great South 5k in October, however I won't be making it easy for anyone!

“For people to race me, it makes the Great South 5k an exciting prospect. It's a great achievement for any one who does beat me walking, as they have to be going at a decent effort and speed.”

Tom was joined by participants who are running across the whole of Great South Run weekend, including the 5k, Junior and Mini Great South Run and the main event on Sunday 23rd October.

The weekend has grown into a festival of sport in Portsmouth and Southsea, with nearly 30,000 people taking part in four events across the two days.

Among the runners was Sabrina Surrey, from Southampton, whose daughter Chloe was born prematurely at just 24 weeks – the same week as the abortion cut off limit.

Baby Cleo was born 16 weeks early and weighed just 1lb 9oz.

After being resuscitated and suffering from a collapsed lung, Chloe spent 4 months on the Neonatal ward at Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital. Thankfully she pulled through and is now thriving at 8 months old.

Sabrina is running the Great South Run 5k to raise money for Ickle Pickles, a local charity that helps to purchase vital equipment for Neonatal wards that save the lives of premature babies like Cleo.

She said: “I will always be thankful to the ward that helped Cleo, at 24 weeks old we thought she would not survive but here she is!

“I'm really excited about running in the Great South Run 5k. I know I'm not the best runner but this challenge adds an exciting and fun element to the run.”

The world's leading 10 mile run starts and finishes in Southsea, overlooking the Solent, and gives participants a unique opportunity to run through Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, passing iconic landmarks such as HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose Museum.

The Great South 5k is a popular event to start the weekend for first-time runners looking to take their first steps to the longer distance, with not a hill in sight!

Tom Bosworth added: “I've just returned from the World Championships in Rome which was a good test for Rio as it gave me the chance to see where I was in comparison with the rest of the world.

“Finally smashing the 20km British Record was a big expectation and pressure off my shoulders. Now I have completed the set of British records of 3km, 5km, 10km and 20km, which I'm so proud of.”

David Hart, Communications Director at the Great Run Company, said: “The Great South Run has a strong following in the running community and it's great to be able to welcome Tom Bosworth along to the 5k event on the Saturday.

“Tom's challenge shows that the Great South Run weekend is for all abilities; whether you're a beginner, charity fundraiser or have a competitive streak and want to run faster than a British record holder!”

Entries are open at www.greatrun.org/south