When Jane Evans first took up running, John Major was Prime Minister, Chesney Hawkes was top of the charts and the internet was in its infancy
Fast forward a quarter of a century and Jane, now 65, is preparing to take on the Morrisons Great South Run for the 25th and final time
This year she’s running for the cause that’s closest to her heart – Meningitis Now.
We supported her niece Mechelle when she was struck down by meningitis at the age of 18.
Mechelle Lake was working away from home for the first time when she contracted the disease, leading to a lengthy spell in hospital as doctors battled to save her life.
Now 37, Mechelle is fit and well, but her family remains grateful for the support they received from us.
Jane said: “We’ll never forget the help that the charity gave them. They were assigned somebody from the charity and they were brilliant, helping the whole family through it. We’re very grateful and I can’t think of a more deserving cause to support in my final year.”
Jane has fond memories of her experiences of running in Portsmouth in previous years – particularly the support from the crowd.
Her husband Dave, who she’s been married to for 46 years, will be at the finishing line to cheer her on along with her sons Kyle and Keith and daughters Katie-Jane and Klaire.
“If you look like you’re flagging it gives you real encouragement to hear the support.”
“I’ve taken part in other races over the years but the Great South Run is the only one I’ve done every single year because it’s such a good one to do. It’s given me something to aim for each year – so there’s been no excuse for being lazy!”
Jane first started running at the age of 40 in 1991 - the year that the world’s leading 10-mile running event was first held in Portsmouth.
Over the years her children have grown up, she’s retired from her job in customer service at B&Q and become a grandmother-of-five.
But one thing has stayed the same - every year without fail she has taken part in the event, raising thousands for charity along the way.
She’s one of millions of runners who have helped bring in an estimated £25 million for charities by taking on the famous 10-mile route over the years.
Jane will be among thousands of runners this year to take on the course, which takes in Portsmouth landmarks including HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, and ends with a final two miles along Southsea seafront.
Her final run in the event will be the end of an emotional journey for Jane, who like many others started running to support good causes.
“I didn’t start running until later in life,” said Jane, of Upper Old Street, Stubbington. “My mum and dad both died in their early 60s and that made me think that I wanted to stay as fit and healthy as I could. Another reason was that at the time my children were cadets at HMS Daedalus and they needed money for a new minibus. A few of the parents got together to raise some money and it went on from there.”
Over the years, Jane has raised an estimated £3,000 for charities including the British Heart Foundation, Macmillan and the 2nd Stubbington Rainbows, through sponsorship from family and friends.
The Morrisons Great South Run will take place in Portsmouth on Sunday, October 25 and is the world’s leading 10-mile running event.