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.