With more than 100 dogs set to take part in the very first Simplyhealth Canine Run on Saturday 20 October, the event has officially sold out.

The dogs and their human owners will come from across from across the South and beyond to run a 2.5k scenic route starting at Southsea seafront and finishing on Clarence Esplanade as part of the iconic Simplyhealth Great South Run weekend.

They will be set on their way by honorary starter Laura Muir, Britain’s 1,500m European champion and recently qualified vet.

The Simplyhealth Canine Run has been created not just to raise awareness of the importance of pet health but also to showcase how pets, and dogs in particular, can help humans with their own health.

One Andover resident taking part in the inaugural event is Donna, who suffers with Fibromyalgia, a condition which causes chronic fatigue and long term pain. She will take part in the event alongside her springer spaniel Nathaniel.

Donna said: “I signed up to the Simplyhealth Canine Run to prove to myself that I could do it. At my worst, I couldn’t spend more than three minutes out of bed. Nathanial gives me that push to get up and get moving and we’re hoping to run as much of it as we can. I’ve never done anything like this before and really looking forward to the challenge.”

Sally Clarke, Director of Vets at Simplyhealth, says: “We’re over the moon by the fantastic response that the Simplyhealth Canine Run has received. We know through our partnership with the Simplyhealth Great Run Series how important exercise is to our overall health and wellbeing and that’s equally true for the furry members of the family too. Canine fitness is about diet, exercise and of course high quality veterinary care. We look forward to seeing you all at the start line.”

Nicky Homes from The Great Run Company said: “The Simplyhealth Canine Run is a great addition to the Simplyhealth Great South Run weekend and the perfect opportunity for runners to lead an active and healthy lifestyle with the whole family, including their dog.”

Whilst an on-site vet will be on hand on the day to deal with any emergencies, owners should also make sure that they consult their vet ahead of the run to check through their dog’s training plan and ensure they are in great shape to take part.

To find out more about the Simplyhealth Canine Run visit www.greatrun.org/canine