The AJ Bell Great Manchester Run will celebrate two decades of running this Sunday 21 May when 25,000 runners line up for the 20th staging of the iconic event, taking on their own 10K or half marathon challenges.
At the head of the pack is an impressive elite field, with Sir Mo Farah racing on the city’s streets for the last time, ahead of his planned retirement in September.
The 40-year-old legendary British athlete last took part in the 10k event in 2018, when he triumphed over Ugandan Moses Kipsiro in a memorable sprint finish with 100 metres to go, winning in a time of 28 minutes 27 seconds. With four Olympic golds, six World Championship titles, and six European golds, Farah has earned his place in the history books of British sport and Sunday will be the last opportunity for fans in the North West fans to cheer him on.
Leading the line-up in the women’s race is Kenya’s Hellen Obiri. The defending champion is a two-time Olympic silver medallist in the 5000m and has three World titles to her name. She was also 2022 Great North Run Champion and recently crowned 2023 Boston Marathon champion.
Famous faces also warming up for the 10K, include Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order fame, raising money for The Christie, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, running for local homeless charity, Coffee 4 Craig and former Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, running for Prevent Breast Cancer.
Peter Ash is among a host of stars from Coronation Street swapping the cobbles for the Mancunian Way. He will be raising funds for the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association after it was confirmed his character will be diagnosed with MND in an upcoming storyline. He will be joined by a number of castmates including Channique Sterling-Brown, running for a local community centre, set up by the charity Manchester Vineyard.
A 300 strong team of AJ Bell colleagues and customers, all raising money for their charity partners Mind, will run together as part of the ‘red wave’, donning matching t-shirts in their distinctive brand colours. The team includes employee Jess Dyer, who was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 13. A prolific fundraiser, she first signed up for the Great Manchester Run in 2015, at age 20 and described completing the 10k as ‘emotional, overwhelming and incredible’
Jess is one of three runners who have been chosen to be the official starters of this year’s event. All three have been featured in a campaign, celebrating 20 powerful human stories that have defined the event over the last 20 years. She will be joined by Elaine Wilkinson, who has completed every single event, including running 10k round her garden during lockdown and Pete Wallroth, founder of the charity Mummy’s Star.
Chief Executive of The Great Run Company Paul Foster said, “It’s humbling to be here preparing for the 20th staging of the AJ Bell Great Manchester Run, an event that has always been an embodiment of everything that’s great about Manchester – grit, determination, diversity, pride and humour.
“With the support of our partners, Manchester City Council, the AJ Bell Great Manchester Run has grown from a Commonwealth Games legacy event into an incredible annual celebration of sport, generosity and achievement“We can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.”
Cllr John Hacking, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure, said: “The Great Manchester Run has become a real highlight in Manchester’s summer calendar. Residents from all over the city – and the UK – train for months in preparation for the event, and it’ll be brilliant to welcome runners, their families and their friends into the city centre on Sunday.
“Whether people are running for charity or in memory of loved ones, or to overcome individual challenges, every runner personifies the Manchester spirit and I wish them all good luck!”
All the action on Sunday will be televised live on BBC One from 11 am. For more information about the event, click here.