British race-walker Tom Bosworth holds the national 5000m walk record with a time of 18:54.18.
The British Olympic hopeful will be walking the Great South 5K on 22 October and has challenged runners to take him on.
As well as the chance of taking the scalp of an Olympian, runners who run the course faster than Bosworth walks it will gain free entry into the Great South Run, a race which has been given a five-star endorsement by European Athletics Running For All, in 2017.
“I think the challenge to run faster than I walk is a great one. No one has any idea how fast race walkers can go and when they hear my British 5km record, some are stunned,” said Bosworth at yesterday’s event launch at Southsea Common.
“For people to race me, it makes the Great South 5k an exciting prospect. It's a great achievement for anyone who does beat me walking, as they have to be going at a decent effort and speed.”
Bosworth was joined at the event launch by budding participants who are running across the whole of Great South Run weekend: the 5k, Junior and Mini Great South Run as well as the main event held over ten miles on 23 October.
The weekend has grown into a festival of sport in Portsmouth and Southsea, with nearly 30,000 people taking part in four events across the two days.
Communications director at the Great Run Company David Hart said: “The Great South Run has a strong following in the running community and it’s great to be able to welcome Tom Bosworth along to the 5k event on the Saturday.
“Tom’s challenge shows that the Great South Run weekend is for all abilities; whether you’re a beginner, charity fundraiser or have a competitive streak and want to run faster than a British record holder!”
The Great South Run was first held in 1990 and is one of the world’s biggest races at the distance. Past winners in Portsmouth include distance running greats such as Liz McColgan, Derartu Tulu, Sonia O’Sullivan, Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah.
Entries are now open for the Great South Run at Greatrun.org/South
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