Double European medallist met runners to celebrate 25 years of the 10-mile event being held in Portsmouth

Andy Vernon met runners aboard the HMS Warrior in Portsmouth on Tuesday to launch the 2015 Morrisons Great South Run.

This year the event celebrates 25 years of being held in the waterfront city, with up to 25,000 participants expected on the start line of the world’s leading 10-mile event when it returns on October 25.

Fareham-born athlete Vernon, who won 5000m bronze and 10,000m silver at the European Championships in Zurich last summer, was the top British finisher in the 2013 Great South Run when he placed fourth. On Tuesday the 29-year-old was joined in Portsmouth by a group of veterans who have taken part in the Great South Run every year since 1990 when it was first held for a single year in Southampton, as well as those who will be running their first 10-mile event this autumn.

After celebrating its 25th staging last year, the Morrisons Great South Run will mark a milestone 25 years in Portsmouth by lighting up the iconic Spinnaker Tower in yellow and blue on Wednesday.

“The Morrisons Great South Run has a loyal following in the running community and it’s great to see those people share their knowledge with runners taking on the challenge for the first time,” said David Hart, communications director for Great Run organiser Nova International.

“It shows that this is an event for all abilities; whether you’re a beginner, charity fundraiser or a European Championships silver medallist like Andy Vernon.”

Vernon added: “The Great South Run is one of the very few city races where you actually get to see a lot of the sights. You run right past the Spinnaker Tower, HMS Warrior, Mary Rose and along the seafront as well.

“It’s at a really good time of year, too. It’s in October so you’ve got the whole summer to train for it, so there’s no excuses not to get out the door.”

Having started out with around 2,000 participants, 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. The programme includes the Morrisons Junior & Mini Great South Run as well as the Morrisons Great South Run 5km.

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