30,000 People Run Together In Manchester
Around 30,000 runners and an even greater number of spectators took over the streets of the city for the 16th staging of the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run today (20 May).
The crowds were out in force to show their support for those taking part, including a number who had been personally affected by the Manchester Arena attack, which happened just six days before last year's event.
Martin Hibbert, who was left paralysed from the waist down took on the 10K in a racing wheelchair, as part of his fundraising mission to donate £1M to the three Manchester hospitals that saved his life.
Martin HIbbert finishes the 10k
Martin also acted as honorary starter alongside poet Tony Walsh, whose ode to Manchester ‘This is the Place' embodied the city's resilient response in the days following the attack.
Martin said, "It's been a really emotional day, and there have definitely been some tears. I absolutely loved the atmosphere, it's hard to describe how amazing it was.
“The fact that so many people in Manchester came out to support me, it makes me emotional even thinking about it. Strangers were cheering my name and the noise when we crossed the finish line was electric.
“It was a special moment for me and one I'll never forget”.
The action began early on Sunday morning with the half marathon event and the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run.
15-year-old Freya Lewis, who was also left seriously injured following the attack, took on the 2.5k junior course to raise money for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, after preforming official starting duties for over one thousand youngsters taking part.
Freya Lewis and Samia Longchambon
Paul Foster, Chief Executive of The Great Run Company, said: "Once again, it's been an incredible day in the City of Manchester.
“I'd like to congratulate everyone who took part in warm and challenging conditions and thank all those who came out in their thousands to support.
“They truly embodied the resolve and determination of this great city today.”
At the front of the field Sir Mo Farah claimed a memorable victory and Tirunesh Dibaba retained her crown as the queen of the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run.
Mo Farah wins the 10k
In his first appearance at the race since 2007, the 35-year-old became the first British man to win the 10K. Moses Kipsiro and Abel Kirui provided stiff opposition, but Farah executed one of his trademark sprint finishes to ease home in 28:27, with Kipsiro second in 28:28 and Kirui third clocking 28:52.
Farah said: "That was tough. I'm not in top, top shape. After the marathon I had a couple of weeks off and have been getting back into training so I was obviously a bit slower but it was good to get a win here – it wasn't about getting a time, it was all about the win.”
“It was hot, and there were a lot of people out there, I always get great support in Manchester. It's a great city, so many people came out to support, to show that we are stronger and we are together.”
Dibaba, the triple Olympic champion, who previously took victory on Deansgate in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017 and made it five wins inside six years with a suitably imperious run in Manchester, clocking 31:08 with Jepkosgei second in 31.57 and Saina third in 32:25.
David Weir won the men's wheelchair race in 21:28, with Johnboy Smith second in 21:43 and Simon Lawson third in 22:30, while Liz McTernan won the women's race in 34:20, with Helen Gilham and Lucy Keyworth second and third in 40:51 and 45:28 respectively.
Celebrities including Coronation Street stars Katie McGlynn, raising money for Springhill Hospice in Rochdale and Cherylee Houston raising funds for drama project Triple C for young people with disabilities in Manchester, joined the masses.
Kate Thornton, Chief Customer Officer at Simplyhealth, said: "This Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run has once again showcased the incredible spirit of the City
"Huge congratulations to everyone who took part. It's been fantastic to see so many runners out here of all ages and abilities making the most of life and taking on an active challenge. We're really pleased to be supporting them every step of the way, helping them stay fit and look after their everyday health.”
3,000 staff students and alumni representing the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University were on the start line alongside 350 NHS staff representing the Manchester University Foundation Trust who took part in distinctive NHS blue t-shirts.
Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “It's been a great day, and we've had the weather on our side. Thousands and thousands of people have come together to take part, it's a great event for Manchester.
It's an event that brings people together and encourages so many people of all ages from all areas of the city to get healthy and active.“
To enter the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run 2018, click here