The former athletes will return to Portsmouth to be official starters of the world’s leading 10-mile running event

Olympic athletes Alan and Della Pascoe will return to the city in which their athletics careers began to be official starters at the Great South Run on Sunday (October 23).

The couple, who hail from Portsmouth, will set off the world’s leading 10-mile running event when it takes place for the 27th time.

Alan won his Commonwealth and European 400m hurdles gold medals in 1974, two years after claiming Olympic 4x400m silver in Munich, while Della competed in the sprints at both the 1968 Mexico Olympics and the 1972 Games.

“The Great South Run is a fantastic course with a great atmosphere,” said Della and Alan, who became an MBE in 1975 and was vice-chairman of the successful London bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We’re very happy to be able to return to our home city to set thousands of inspiring runners on their way to begin their 10-mile journey.

“Whether it is running, jogging or walking, we’re very proud to see so many people be encouraged to get active in and around Portsmouth.”

The Great South Run starts and finishes in Southsea and features a fast and flat 10-mile course that has been graced by world-class athletes such as Liz McColgan, Paula Radcliffe, Sonia O’Sullivan and Mo Farah, who won the men’s race in 2009.

The event gives participants the unique opportunity to run through Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, passing iconic landmarks such as HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose Museum.

Brendan Foster, chairman of The Great Run Company, said: “Alan and Della were both brought up in Portsmouth and were coached in the city by Della’s father before they achieved huge success in athletics.

“They competed regularly in the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games all over the world but their hearts were always in Portsmouth.

“Alan went on to be instrumental in the 2012 London Olympics campaign and in the success of British Athletics. Now he is coming back to where it all started and I know he is a big fan of the Great South Run, partly because it is his home and he understands the value of big events like this for cities like Portsmouth.”

The Great South Run has grown into a festival of sport around Portsmouth and Southsea, with 25,000 people taking part in four events across two days, including the Junior & Mini Great South Run and the Great South Run 5k.

Live coverage of the Great South Run will be shown on Channel 5 from 10.00am on Sunday.