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Paula Radcliffe hails ‘inspirational’ women

Legendary athlete Paula Radcliffe today met inspirational women who are taking part in this year’s Morrisons Great South Run.

Paula was at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard in her role as Great Run’s ambassador for women’s running in 2015.

The marathon star, who won the Great South Run in 2008, is on a mission to encourage more women to take up running.

Since 2010 the Great South Run has been made up of around 45 per cent female competitors – and Paula is keen to see that figure rise to achieve an even 50/50 male and female split.

Among the women Paula met this morning was Joanne Green from Bournemouth, who will join up to 25,000 people on the start line of the world’s leading 10 mile running event when it returns to Southsea on Sunday 25 October.

Joanne, a fitness instructor, has neuroendocrine cancer and will be running with friends for PLANETS – pancreatic, liver and neuroendocrine tumours (a fund of Southampton Hospital Charity), based at Southampton General Hospital where she receives treatment. 

Joanne wants to raise awareness of the disease as it is estimated that she suffered from it for 15 years while it was undiagnosed.

She said: “This will be my fifth time of doing the Great South Run. It’s a great event because the course is very flat but it’s also quite varied – some runs are a bit samey but this is nice, there’s a lot of variety. 

“The main thing is the support you get as you go round, with people coming out of their houses to cheer you on all the way round. It’s a great atmosphere.

“I’ve always kept fit but I wouldn’t call myself a runner – I started running around nine or 10 years ago but this was my first race and I wondered why I hadn’t done it before! 

“Meeting Paula was great. I remember reading her autobiography a few years and being inspired by her, and I watched her do the London Marathon for the last time this year. Meeting her was fantastic – she’s truly inspirational.”

Paula said: “It’s an honour to meet women like Joanne whose stories are so inspiring and will encourage women everywhere to see running as an achievable goal.

“Sometimes women feel they have no time to fit in exercise because of the demands of juggling work and family life. They don’t know where to start, but it’s true that the greatest journeys start with a single step. You don’t need expensive equipment – just a well fitting pair of trainers!
"Walking, jogging and eventually running regularly is an achievable form of exercise for most people, and having an event to work towards can be a great motivator.
“I’m hoping that people will follow these women’s examples and set themselves the goal of taking part in the Morrisons Great South Run this October.
"The Great South Run is a really fast, flat course which makes it great for runners of all abilities and it has an amazing atmosphere. It’s almost like a carnival all the way round Portsmouth and the people of the city really get behind it. That’s part of what makes it so special.
“Running past HMS Victory and through the Historic Dockyard, round the city and along the seafront is inspiring – there’s a real party atmosphere.”
The 10 mile route offers a unique opportunity to run through the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and passes HMS Victory. The course is known for being flat, and has been graced by world-class athletes such as Paula Radcliffe, Liz McColgan, Sonia O’Sullivan and Mo Farah, who won the men’s race in 2009.
The event has grown into a festival of sport in Portsmouth and Southsea, with nearly 30,000 people taking part in four events across two days, including the Morrisons Junior & Mini Great South Run and the Morrisons Great South Run 5k.
For more information and to enter, visit

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