13 Facts For 13 Miles Of The Great Birmingham Run

Womens Running

This year's Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run, which takes place on Sunday, October 13, offers a mix of city centre landmarks near its New Street start-line plus some of the most popular spots in south Birmingham along its 13.1-mile route. We've picked out 13 locations that celebrate all that's great about running in Birmingham.

1 Apple Birmingham
128 New Street, as it is officially known, has been a bank, bookshops and now the Birmingham city centre branch of Apple. It's a spectacular store restored to its original banking hall floorplans by the tech giant. This building has all the heritage protection listings imaginable and, being one of the most beautiful buildings in Birmingham, it's clear to see why.

Highight: Apple hosts a series of workshops and creative sessions for gadget fans keen to learn more about their sleek phones and tablets.

2 Odeon New Street and Oscar Deutsch
The famous Odeon cinema chain was founded by Balsall Heath-born Oscar Deutsch, who attended King Edwards VI Five Ways. Oscar's wife sold the booming picture house empire to the Rank Organisation after his death in 1941 and it continues to show blockbuster movies to this day.

A hotly-disputed urban myth claims Odeon stands for ‘Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation', but those in the know have dismissed this as a clever PR tagline. Whether it's true or not, we love it!

Highlight: The Odeon on New Street was once a gig venue popular with some of the greatest bands ever. Search online for a fantastic picture of Bob Marley in the side-alley next to the building… wonderful nostalgia.

3 The Rotunda
The Rotunda is as much Birmingham as Ozzy Osbourne and Cadbury's chocolate. Built at a cost of £1 million between 1961 and 1965 as part of the Bull Ring development, the city didn't originally take to its unique design but it has grown to become a much-loved and photographed landmark.

Many Brummies of a certain age will remember the giant Coca-Cola branding on Rotunda's roof. There's some suggestion this was the largest neon sign in the world. Take that, Vegas.

Highlight: Rotunda's Staying Cool penthouse apartments, where you can spend a night with views stretching out across the Midlands.

4 Bullring
One of the country's most visited retail centres, the Bull Ring markets area is one of the oldest parts of Birmingham with a royal charter to hold a market going back centuries. There's never been an actual bullfighting ring here. The name comes from the steel rings used to tether cattle brought in for sale.

It's home to Britain's biggest chains offering fashion, footwear and everything else in between. The Bullring Link, connecting the centre to Grand Central and New Street station, houses a variety of quirky independent stores selling unique homewares and clothing.

Highlight: Grab a selfie with the Bullring Bull. It's a much-loved piece of public art that has become an icon for the city.

5 Primark Birmingham
Did you know it's the biggest Primark in the world? We may have mentioned it a few times. The former Pavilions shopping centre, once a large mall housing dozens of stores, is now a single Primark with five floors of the latest looks plus restaurants, hair salons and beauty treatments. It's a shopper's paradise, that's for sure.

Highlight: You can get personalised donuts in the Disney Café, spray painted to your choice of colour.

6 Selfridges
The Selfridges building's jelly-like exterior covered with 15,000 aluminium discs has captured the imagination of Instagrammers across the land, making it one of the top-ten most photographed buildings in the country.

The inside is pretty dramatic, too, with cutting-edge looks, a packed menu of dining destinations and celeb visitors such Victoria Beckham, who popped in recently to launch her latest clothing range.

Highlight: Food concessions to cater for every tastebud, including top-floor restaurant Fumo, serving Italian classics every day.

7 Digbeth
This is Birmingham at its most raw and, to many, most interesting.

Metal-bashing and industrial factories are making way for creative agencies and the bars, restaurants and residential developments to support a new era of city living.

The Custard Factory is at the heart of all this activity with work units and stores in the former Bird's custard factory.

The vast HS2 rail project is due to run alongside the Digbeth area, a multi-billion-pound scheme that will further transform a truly fascinating and historic part of Birmingham city centre.

Highlight: Take a walk through the backstreets of Digbeth to find out more about the Peaky Blinders; this was once the stomping ground of the notorious gangsters.

8 Pebble Mill
The Pebble Mill name is synonymous with daytime TV viewers of a certain vintage, as this was once home to some of the BBC's most popular light entertainment shows before the studio lights went down for the final time in 2004.

The BBC's Midlands operation moved to the Mailbox in the city centre some time ago and the site is now home to a state-of-the-art dental hospital and medical facilities connected to the nearby University of Birmingham.

Highlight: You can join the new ‘Birmingham Cycle Revolution' cycle path on the neighbouring A34 Bristol Road to bike it into the city centre.

9 Bournville
They were a smart bunch, the Cadbury family.

Not only did they create the tastiest confectionary in the land, they knew that keeping their thousands of workers happy would be the secret to sweet success.

And so beautiful Bournville, still seen as a model for happy community living, was created, when the Cadbury brothers moved their cocoa empire to a new factory near Bournbrook (they added the ‘ville' to sound more continental).

Spacious, well-designed homes, large gardens to grow vegetables, parks, leisure amenities and schools, Bournville set the standard for industrial living still respected today and visited by enthusiasts from around the world.

Highlight: The Selly Manor and Minworth Greaves buildings were saved from demolition and relocated to Bournville brick-by-brick by the Cadburys. The Tudor buildings are now a stunning visitor attraction.

10 Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park
It's got a new name and branding above the front door, but to us Brummies it will always be the Nature Centre.

Based on Pershore Road, the Park is home to a unique collection of animals from across the world, including red pandas, lemurs, reptiles, meerkats, otters, birds, wallabies and a large collection of monkeys.

The Nature Centre hit the headlines in 2004 when Babu, one of its resident red pandas, escaped before recaptured four days later after being spotted hiding 60ft up a tree.

Highlight: Always popular with school trips, the Nature Centre is also a great place to take the family for a leisurely day out.

11 Cannon Hill Park
Arguably Birmingham's prettiest park, Cannon Hill was given to the city by the incredible Victorian industrial philanthropist Louisa Ryland who inherited the land from her wealthy father.

A boating lake, acres of green space, mac arts centre and café, Cannon Hill is a fantastic day out and popular with runners of all abilities with various events taking place throughout the year.

Highlight: See if you can find the scaled-down miniature monument to the Elan Valley reservoirs in Wales, from where Birmingham gets most of its crystal-clear tap water.

12 Edgbaston Stadium
Home to some of English cricket's most glorious victories, Edgbaston Stadium is a firm favourite with fans and players alike, earning a ‘fortress' nickname.

Edgbaston was the venue of the first senior county game under floodlights in English cricket in 1997 and hosted the first day/night Test match in England in 2017 when England played the West Indies.

It was at Edgbaston that Brian Lara recorded the highest individual score in first-class cricket, with 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994.

Highlight: Edgbaston is recognised as a leading conference venue hosting awards ceremonies and red-carpet events.

13 Aston University
Did you know Aston University's contribution to its home city was officially recognised in 1984 when the area was granted its own postal address ‘The Aston Triangle', emphasising the campus as an official district of Birmingham. The university's triangular logo is inspired by the shape of the area.

Previously a college given its Royal Charter to become a university in 1966, Aston is one of the most popular academic institutions in the city; its Business School recognised internationally with graduates going on to work for world renowned institutions and companies such as Barclays, BMW, Deutsche Bank, Google, Morgan Stanley, PWC and Rolls Royce.

Highlight: The Gosta Green and Sacks of Potatoes pubs on the Aston University campus are perfect venues for a post-Great Birmingham Run pint.

To enter the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run click here

Anyone who entered the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k in May will automatically receive a £10 discount off the entry fee to the half marathon.