To join Phil on the start line in May, sign up at greatrun.org/manchester

ONLY a select few people can boast that they have taken part in every single Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run.

Phil Chapman is one of those people. He lined up at the start in 2003, and saw the event grow from humble beginnings to establish itself as Europe's biggest 10k running event.

Now, it is bigger than ever with a half marathon added to the weekend of events, and Phil, once again, will be making his way to the start line to take part in Manchester's greatest run.

The 57-year-old will be running for Blythe House Hospice in Chapel-en-le-Frith, where his wife manages the voluntary services team.

Ahead of the 15th staging on Sunday, 28 May, Phil has shared some of his memories of his time taking part in the event.

He said: The first one is obviously quite a big thing. Although I'd been running for years, it was only for general fitness and to run the beer off.

“When an event like this came along in the city up the road I thought I've got to do it. I wasn't quite prepared for just how big it would be. It is a hell of a lot bigger now than it was in 2003.

“But that first one, the excitement and nerves getting up to the start was really special and I'll never forget that.

“A few years ago - I think it was five years ago - I ran it in a pink fur coat and luckily it was the coolest Great Manchester Run that has ever been, so I got away with it. It's the only time I've ever ran in any form of fancy dress.

“You get shouts from the crowd; most people thought it was a dressing gown for some reason. To get to the end without passing out from getting too hot was good.

“The third memory - I've got a mate who's not particularly fit whose brother died unexpectedly young about five years ago, I ran it with him, it was just about staying shoulder to shoulder with a really good mate and getting to the end, and few people rallying around him to get him to the finish line and that was a really emotional finish.”

To join Phil on the start line in May, sign up at greatrun.org/manchester