Can the Great South Run get back on track?

Report by ITV News Meridian's Sarah Gomme

The pandemic has dealt so many sporting events a huge blow, with many not being able to take place at all. Among them, mass participation events so popular across our region.

Some though, are determined to return later this year - safety permitting. Among those we could see back is the Great South Run, planned to take place in Portsmouth & Southsea in October.

If lockdown guidelines allow, the Great South Run could be back in October.

These are the scenes so many of us have been missing. Gathering en mass to complete distances we might never have thought possible.

The restrictions of the past year have denied us that, so we have instead had to quite literally go it alone.

In October though, if lockdown guidelines allow, the Great South Run will be back.

We are very optimistic that the event can take place. Thanks to the vaccination programme thats firing along at the moment, there's 15 million people already vaccinated and we've been promised many many more by the autumn. I think it'll be a fantastic symbol of this recovery from covid.

Paul Foster, CEO Great Run

A Covid secure mass participation event might sound near on impossible, but Paul and his team believe that with longer, staggered start times, far fewer touch points and controls on spectator involvement, it can be done.

  • Paul Foster, CEO Great Run

What precautions are being looked at so far for the Great South Run 2021?

  • fewer people at the start line at any given moment, less crowding and more space at the finish line

  • reduce touch points at the course

  • changing water stations

  • handout finisher packs at different times

  • wearing masks before and after the race

  • questions of spectators and bringing friends and families will be decided nearer the time

Those so desperately missing their own running communities have taken up virtual challenges in great numbers. They've proved hugely successful - but can never completely replace the real thing.

Fewer people at the start line at any given moment, less crowding and more space at the finish line are some potential precautions

Events like the Great South Run provide a fantastic target and great motivation for people to get up and get something done and just half an hour of exercise everyday whether its a walk or a run, it does wonders for you. We play a small part in that by staging the event and motivating people and helping them train...we can't wait to get to doing what we do and I think everybody will feel the same.

Paul Foster, CEO Great Run