20 Years, 20 Great Reasons

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This year’s landmark AJ Bell Great Manchester Run promises to be the most special yet, as we celebrate 20 years of running. Here we look back at 20 reasons the event has become a fixture of the city and a firm favourite with runners across the years.


1 – Standing shoulder to shoulder on the start line with thousands in anticipation
Standing on the start line waiting for the gun to go off, you won’t be the only one experiencing pre-race nerves, sheer excitement to get going, or dare we say it second thoughts! The support and comradery of your fellow runners will keep you flying round the course, and they’ll be with you until the end.


2 – Soaking up the Manchester support every step of the way
Every year tens of thousands of supporters pack the city’s streets to cheer on the waves of runners. These passionate supporters create an atmosphere unlike anything you’ve experienced before & help to keep those legs pumping to the finish.



3 – Sharing the start and finish line with the best runners in the world
The event has been able to attract some of the greatest names in running, from Haile Gebrselassie to Tirunesh Dibaba and Sir Mo Farah. Fellow runners line up alongside some of the world’s best athletes and see them perform first-hand.


4 – Crossing that finish line on a packed Deansgate with strangers cheering your name
Hearing strangers cheering your name is the final piece of motivation you need to make it to the end of the course and feel that finish line feeling. Words can’t describe just how special it is.


5 – Pounding the pavements down Sir Matt Busby Way past the majestic Old Trafford
Runners pass the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ dreaming of one thing, the finish. It’s a special feeling to run so close to one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world, and so luckily for the runners they get to pass by twice!



6 – Practically touching the Etihad Stadium
Purpose-built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the Etihad Stadium is a highlight of the half-marathon section of the course. The first Great Manchester Run was born out of those Games, and so it’s a special landmark on the route for the event.


7 – Remembering that special someone
Every runner has their own reason to run, and for some, it’s remembering someone special. Be it through names stamped on their back or pictures on their t-shirts, magical memories carry those weary legs to complete the challenge.


8 – Non-stop music from start to finish
This Is The One blasts out over the start line speakers to set runners on their way, and from that point onwards the music doesn’t stop! With local bands, charity cheering squads, live DJs and entertainment zones dotted every 500m of the course, it’s more of a rave than run!


9 – Experiencing the best of Manchester spirit
The event has always been a celebration of all that is great about Manchester; whether running for charity, in memory of loved ones or to overcome individual challenges, every runner personifies the Manchester spirit. Oh and the crowds… be it the roars of support or the funny signs, they play their part too!



10 – Raising money for local charities
Every year runners raise millions of pounds for hundreds of good causes, benefiting people across Manchester, the UK, and the world. Charity cheering squads are dotted across the course spurring on runners. After the event, the Charity Village is a hive of activity with charities providing their runners with some much-needed TLC and perhaps even some tea and biscuits.


11 – Soaking up the electric city centre post-race atmosphere
The party doesn’t finish when you cross the finish – celebrations continue in the Apres Run zone with tunes blasting, food and drink refreshments close by and a sea of finisher t-shirts and medals proudly being worn. The city comes alive on Great Manchester Run weekend!


12 – Singing along to the Stone Roses at the start
Celebrating the legendary Manchester band, our start-line anthem is This is the One. It sends runners proudly off on their Great Manchester Run challenge with a spring in their step. Warm up those vocal cords as you won’t be the only one singing.


13 – Spotting famous faces in the crowds
Every year you can spot famous faces in amongst the crowds of runners, taking on their own challenge, wanting to be part of the action, and fundraising for charity. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera close to hand!



14 – Seeing the best fancy dress in town
Each year thousands of hearty souls take the challenge to another level by sporting weird and wonderful fancy dress outfits. Guaranteed to keep spectators and fellow runners amused, and raising money for worthwhile causes, we salute the fancy-dress fanatics!


15 – Running down the Mancunian Way without traffic jams
On race day the Mancy Way is for trainers only! It’s a unique experience to see the roads closed, the city transformed and runners take over! Plus it’s probably quicker running it anyway…


16 – Trying to spot yourself on BBC TV
With the race televised live on the BBC, you’ve got a chance for your moment in the spotlight. Start line sprints, funky finish line celebrations and wacky fancy dress have been known to work before… Tell family and friends are watching at home to keep their eyes peeled on the tele for your star appearance.


17 – Earning your medal and t-shirt and wearing it with pride
A snazzy finisher t-shirt and medal is a just reward for the blood, sweat and tears spent getting to the finish line. This year’s finisher rewards are pretty special too and well worth the effort! See your 2023 finisher t-shirt + medal here.


18 – That finish line joy
There can be few better experiences than crossing the Deansgate finish line after putting your all into a run. That feeling of achievement, pride, and elation is something that will stay with you – it’s weeks of training all leading up to one magical moment and boy does it feel good.



19 – Telling people ‘I was there’
The bragging rights, the social hype, the kudos! Whether running or spectating, people love saying ‘I was there’, ‘I did it’.


20 – Celebrating 20 years of history
20 years of fundraising, world-class performances, personal bests, conquering goals, pushing boundaries, and cheering crowds. This year’s landmark 20th event will be a special occasion and another piece of history.


20 years, 20 great reasons. Discover yours and be part of something special on Sunday 21 May. Find out more & enter here.