The AJ Bell Great South Run is back in Portsmouth, with this weekend seeing thousands of runners taking to the city streets to test themselves against the flat, fast course.

It's the world's premier 10-mile running event, not just because the conditions are ideal for setting a personal best, but also because the route offers spectacular views of Southsea Seafront, Spinnaker Tower and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (among others).

At the time of writing there are still a handful of last-minute entries left. Head to the Great South Run website to secure yours.


Information and timings

The 10-mile event may get all the headlines, but the Great South Run is really a weekend-long event.

First up on Saturday is the Great South 5k, which is ideal for anyone starting out on their running journey or working back to fitness post-injury. Beginning at 10am on Saturday 14 October, the race follows a picturesque route around Southsea Common.

Saturday's activities continue with events for the youngsters - there's the Mini Run (of 1.2km for ages 3-8) and the Junior Run (2.5k, for 9–15-year-olds). These are an ideal introduction to running events for kids - who even get their own finisher's medal upon crossing the line. Please note, though, entries to the Mini and Junior runs have now sold out.

There's even a fancy dress theme: Seaside Saturday. Youngsters can dress up in all sorts of coastal-themed costumes, and there are prizes for the best outfits.


Great South Run timings

The main event rolls around on Sunday, with the event site and information points open from 7am. Race start times are as follows:
10.15pm - Elite Female
10.19am - Wheelchair Racers and Visually Impaired Runners
10.35am - Elite Male, Fast-Paced Runners and Orange Wave
10.56am - Green Wave
11.17am - Pink Wave

Not been able to train as much as planned, or concerned you may not go as fast as originally expected? Maybe you want to run with someone else who's in a different wave. In this case just remember that you can drop down to a slower wave, but you cannot go up to a faster one. So orange can drop to green, or either can go into pink, but pink can't rise to green, and neither can jump to orange.

Got a time target in mind or want to keep to a set speed? There will be multiple pacers along the route with clearly defined finish times displayed - look out for yours to keep to target.


Other activities

Around the start and finish lines there will be a host of activities and visitor areas. Friends and family members can cheer runners over the line at the small grandstand, or head to Castle Field where there's the reunion spot (with letter flags to stand underneath), Apres Run area, and even a massage tent.

There's much more to read, as well as answers to any other questions you may have, on the Great South Run website. Head to the FAQs section for details, or download the official race pack for handy tips and advice.


Road closures - Portsmouth

There will be road closures in place across the city during the weekend, so if you're planning on travelling by car it's advisable to plan your route in advance and allow plenty of time.

Clarence Esplanade, High Street (Old Portsmouth), Queen Street, Clarence Parade, Eastern Parade and Eastney Esplanade are among the main roads to be closed at various points throughout the event. There will also be a footway closure on Pembroke Road and a revocation of one-way systems on Clarence Pier Road and Auckland Road West.

For all the details, head to the Portsmouth City Council website, where you can find information on all the road closures and the timings they'll be in place.


Road closures - getting to Portsmouth

If you're coming to Portsmouth from London there could be disruptions on your route, with the A3 closed around Junction 10 of the M25 so that new bridges can be installed.

The southbound carriageway of the A3 will be closed from Junction 10 of the M25 to the A247 at Burntcommon. Northbound there will be closures from the B2215/A247 exit at Ripley to the M25 (Junction 10).

These closures will be in place from 9pm on Friday 13 October to 6am on Monday 16 October, with diversions in place.

If you're travelling along this section it's worth planning ahead and allowing extra time - especially if you're travelling down on Sunday morning ahead of the race.


Other things to see and do

You may be heading to Portsmouth for the run, but don't let that be all you do here. After all, the UK's only island city has plenty more to offer visitors - with miles of coastline, centuries of history and truly world class attractions.

Extend your stay and take in the awe-inspiring Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (home to HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and The Mary Rose), or bag a bargain at Gunwharf Quays. You could also take a trip up the Spinnaker Tower to enjoy a different view of the race route and the wider Portsmouth cityscape.

See our attractions listings for full details, or head to the events section to find out what else is going on around the race.

Good luck!




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