Runners and charity fundraisers gathered in Southsea last week with just over 2 months to go until the Simplyhealth Great South Run.

The participants were in attendance to share their stories about their reasons for running ahead of their challenge.

The world’s leading 10-mile running event returns to Portsmouth on the weekend of 21st-22nd October, with up to 25,000 people of all ages and abilities taking part across four running events.

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Among those attending last week’s event was Mark Grimes from RydeMark, a firefighter with the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2015.

Following surgery, Mark realised that very little funding is received for research into brain tumours and decided to embark on a series of fundraising events to benefit the Brain Tumour Charity and The Firefighters Charity, who have supported him as a serving firefighter at Ryde.

In addition, Mark and his wife Katherine set up The Wight Brainy Bunch charity, to supply a support network and funding to families on the Isle of Wight who have been affected by brain tumours. So far they have raised a combined total of over £30,000 and hope to extend this by running in the Simplyhealth Great South Run.

34-year-old Mark will be taking on the event with his wife, Kathryn. He said:

“After six months of ‘funny turns’ with what we assumed was an ear problem, following an MRI scan I was diagnosed with a rare tumour called Oligodendroglioma.

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“I was told that while the tumour could be removed, this was not a cure and was likely to return. I underwent a four hour craniotomy while I was awake which affected my speech, expression and personality.

“My tumour is controllable but not curable and given my age, I may need to be treated again but post-operation I have now returned to work and full fitness.

“It has been our aim since that time to give something back and doing the Simplyhealth Great South Run to help raise funds and awareness about this disease is something that we can do together.

“We’re committed to supporting our chosen charities and to provide a support network locally on the Isle of Wight to patients and their families who are living with the devastating effects of brain tumours. This was something that we felt, through our own experience, was lacking.”

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Inspirational runners like Mark will join thousands of participants who are set to pound the pavements of the scenic course that starts and finishes on Southsea’s seafront, with beautiful views of the Solent.

Entries for the Simplyhealth Great South Run are open. Enter at

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